Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alive!

Yes, we're all alive and well...I'll post ASAP about some stuff, I promise...

Nate

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Walker!

Gwyneth has discovered something new!

video

Nate

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September Sunsets

September is the best time of the year for beautiful sunsets here at the beach...







Nate

ENT Report

Thanks for your patience!

As you may have read, Gwyneth had an appointment with a pediatric ENT last week. After two of her hearing screens showed some hearing loss in her ears. We've assumed that it was caused by fluid behind her eardrum, but it was good to finally get the official diagnosis. Fluid in the middle ear is very common among children, and especially preemies because their bodies were not given adequate time to develop in the womb.

We have noticed that Gwyneth has difficulty hearing certain pitches, and we're pretty certain that her muffled hearing is stunting her development. Fortunately, she has not experienced any ear infections.

So, Gwyneth will have tubes placed in both ears to help relieve the pressure and drain the fluid. We have another ophthalmology appointment for her tomorrow, and we're assuming that she will need another corrective eye surgery. What we're really hoping for is to have both surgeries scheduled on the same day (probably in October) so that we can kill two birds with one stone.

Again, we're excited about the possibilities of helping Gwyneth to grow and develop.

Thanks!

Nate

Slushies!

I thought I'd make you a little jealous by showing you the slushy machine from Sea-Freeze...as a warning, if you don't want to see what the back of my throat looks like, look away from about :55 to 1:07...

video

Feel free to come on over and stay cool with me!

Nate

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Surgery

So, I thought I'd fill you in on my surgery. If you're a bit squeamish about medical stuff, you may not want to read ahead....

I've known for several years that my tonsils were abnormally large, so much so that, when I get sick with an upper respiratory infection, they often touch each other and give me problems breathing and swallowing. I've already been sick four times this year with illnesses related to my tonsils (like Strep Throat). Additionally, there have been a few times I have been so sick that my uvula (that hangy-downy thing in the back of your throat) has become so swollen and long that it has literally rested on the back of my tongue, which also causes problems breathing and swallowing, not to mention creating a gag reflex.

I began developing seasonal allergies in high school, and have asked several doctors and medical professionals over the past 10 years about the possibility of having my tonsils removed...they all said "no". About 9 months ago, when Tricia had her Vocal Cord Surgery, I asked her Duke surgeon, Dr. Scher about my tonsils...he's the first person to tell me that he'd recommend a tonsillectomy. So, I set up an appointment for him to examine me.

Because I've been very certain that I have sleep apnea, and because most insurance companies will not cover an adult tonsillectomy without hard proof that it is needed, Dr. Scher suggested that I go in for a sleep study test, which I did about 4 months ago. Sure enough, I have "severe" sleep apnea...I have partial or total blockage of my airways 90 times/hour when I sleep, which is one of the worst cases any of my doctors have ever seen or heard of. The data shows that I literally get no REM sleep, which explains a lot of things.

Dr. Scher decided that it would be best for me to have a Tonsillectomy and a Uvulopalatophryngoplasty (UPPP). The tonsillectomy should help reduce or illiminate my sleep apnea and should reduce my number of upper repiratory illnesses...the UPPP should help reduce my sleep apnea.

As I mentioned before, this is the first time I've ever been a patient in the hospital. It's also my first surgery, my first IV, my first time under heavy anesthesia, and my first time in a hospital gown...needless to say, having spent so much time at Duke as a caregiver, the entire experience was very surreal.

The surgery lasted about 45 minutes, and they kept me overnight for observation. Because my soft palate and most of the back of my mouth is swollen, I really can't tell a difference in the quality of breathing, yet. Also, my tongue is very swollen (which doesn't always happen with this surgery), so my speach is slurred and swallowing is a little more difficult than it normally would be after this surgery.

We arrived back home from Duke on Tuesday evening around 6. I've been taking pain meds every few hours, along with benedryl (the pain meds make me itch like crazy), which means I'm very, very groggy. I've been able to sleep very well, however, for which I'm thankful. The pain is basically non-existant at this point, except when I swallow...even then, it's very barable. Other than being very tired and groggy, and not being able to swallow unconsciously, everything is going well so far.

I'm allowed to eat whatever I want, but I'm staying away from dairy (which creates thick mucus that is difficult to swallow or cough out), anything that would hurt to swallow (like crackers and chips) and anything acidic or spicy (like OJ and salsa). I've mostly been eating soup, scrambled eggs, apple sauce and a few other things. I'm drinking lots of cold water, and I've got a slushie machine (I'll show you a video of it later). The hardest part of eating is swallowing, especially because they trimmed my palate...

Of course, I've done my research...from what I've read and heard, the first few days are actually a bit easier than days 3-7, which is when the scabs start forming and creating issues. It typically takes an adult about two weeks to really begin feeling better. Young children, in comparison, are often back to their normal selves within a matter of a few days or even hours.

So, I'll be spending a lot of time over the next several days, sipping slushies, blogging, watching movies and finding other ways to keep my mind occupied. Tricia has been a most excellent caregiver so far, and our families have been helping to watch Gwyneth a bit.

Thanks again for your prayers and encouragement! If you see me on facebook, feel free to chat with me to help keep me busy.

Nate

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Home and Recovery

I'll share more details about the surgery and recovery later...for now, just wanted to let you know that everything has gone well so far, and that we're home again. Gwyneth was waiting at the front door with a big smile!



Nate

Monday, September 14, 2009

Memoirs of a Tonsillectomy (from CF Husband's Wife)

Nathan is out of his surgery and into recovery. He did very well. Other than having lots of post pain and a swollen tongue, he continues to do great! I think he took before and will be taking after pictures... but I am having a hard enough time just posting this note. I am very proud of my husband, who went through a surgery which is known to be, "more painful than back surgery" from what a nurse told me. The post recovery comes with some risks though, as this is a vascular procedure along with lots of pain. Please continue to pray for Nathan in the next few days. Thanks to a good friend, Larry, Nathan will be receiving a slushy machine when we get home!!

I went to go visit some of my favorite people here in the hospital. I was able to see some nurses, physical therapists, and one of my favorite Dr.'s --- Dr. Kussin. He joked with me and told me to begin a blog for Nate called, "Memoirs of a Tonsillectomy." I am not sure if Nathan laughed at that joke. He also sincerely said to call him if we need anything. My c.f. social worker also came by for a visit and so did Nathan's dad.

Thank You Doctor Scher for fixing both my new and improved voice and Nathan's tonsils! Your our favorite E.N.T!

We both miss our baby girl very much but know she is in very good hands tonight as she spends time with my mom and brother, Frank. Since I am in the shout out mode: Hi dad in Ohio... and my family in NJ, PA, and FL! Ok, this may get crazy, so I'll stop.

Thank you to everyone else who was praying for the love of my life. He and I really appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers.

Much Love,

P.S.

Goodbye Tonsils!

Today at 11am, I'm scheduled to have my tonsils removed! I'm stoked, especially considering:

1) I haven't had a good night's sleep in several years (or so my doctors tell me).

2) I've been sick with something related to my tonsils 4 times this year (which is by far a personal record).

This will be my first time ever as a patient in a hospital...I'll have to stay overnight for observation...it should be a very surreal feeling with me in the hospital bed and Tricia in the recliner... I've been told the recovery can last up to 2 weeks for adults...in the meantime, you'll be able to find me on my couch, sucking as many slushies as possible (thanks to my friends at Sea-Freeze!).

Wish me luck! I'll have Tricia post an update for me later today.

Nate

PS...I should have plenty of time to blog about Gwyneth's ENT appointment and the success of our Great Strides Walk!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beach Balls and Tutus



Missing my baby girl tonight...

Nate

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Great Strides Today!!!

We'll be hanging out with a bunch of awesome people today (Saturday) from about 9am to 1pm at the Outer Banks Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis, having an incredible time! Tons of free food, drinks, desserts, a sweet raffle and silent auction, a live DJ, Beach104 Radio, live music, free games and activities for children, and so much more!

Dare County Family Recreation Park in Kill Devil Hills (Behind the Outer Banks Brewing Station) is THE place to be tomorrow! Anyone and everyone is invited!

Whether you know all there is to know about CF, or nothing at all, whether you have thousands of dollars sitting in your pocket waiting to be donated, or nothing more than a willing heart and happy attitude, I would absolutely love to see you there! The walk is less than half a mile, and begins at 10am...even if you can't walk, arrive anytime after 10:30 and enjoy the rest of the fun! Come out and meet Tricia, Gwyneth and I, and have a great time with our friends and families!

Please, let me know if you have any questions about this fantastic event!!!

Thanks!!!

Nate

PS. Check out our photos from last years walk!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9.11

I want to pause and say "thank you" to all of the men and women in my town, county, state and country who choose to serve to protect our freedom and insure our safety. I have many friends who serve as public safety personnel here locally and across the country, and more than a few friends who dedicate their lives in our armed services.

My parents and elders taught me to always be thankful , respectful and supportive of these men and women, knowing the sacrifices they make and the character and skill it takes to do their jobs well. My life is blessed, in large part, because of those who, mostly unseen, protect my family and I every day.

This week is a busy one for me, but I will spend some extra time today remembering and being thankful, praying for these dedicated men and women who are always ready to serve when the call comes in.

Nate

ENT Appt.

Gwyneth has an important ENT appointment today at 10am. We've had her ears tested twice in the past 6 months, and both times she's shown moderate hearing loss. We're pretty certain it is due to fluid behind the ear-drum, but she hasn't had any infections. Today's appointment should answer all of our questions and give us a plan to fix the problem. We're hoping that it is as simple as that and not something more severe/permanent, but we're ready to tackle anything!

Thanks for your continued encouragement and support for our family as we help our little preemie grow big and strong!

Nate

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Yesterday, I asked for 99 people to donate $9 each by 9pm last night. The results are in, and just under 80 people donated well over $1000!

Thank you so much to everyone who donated to my Personal Great Strides Account in the past 24 hours, as well as to everyone who helped me spread the word about my event! Together, we've made a difference in the lives of over 70 thousand people affected by Cystic Fibrosis in the world!

I would still love to reach my goal of 99 people, so if you missed out on the fun yesterday but would still like to donate, it's not too late! Just read on to my next post!

Nate

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9

Did I reach my goal of $9 from 99 people by 9pm? I'm certain I came close, but I won't know until tomorrow...find out at noon with me! And, if you're just tuning in and would like to donate, please read on!!!

9
is a very unique number...check this out...

Today is 9.9.9.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009.

Wednesday has 9 letters.

September has 9 letters.

It's the 252 day of the year...2 + 5 + 2 = 9.

The average life expectancy for a child born today with Cystic Fibrosis is 36 years...3 + 6 = 9.

A $9 donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation can make a huge difference in the lives of 30,000 children and adults in the US alone suffer from Cystic Fibrosis.

I'm looking for 99 people to donate $9 each by 9pm tonight (EST) to my Personal Great Strides Account. If we can accomplish this, raising $891, I will be sincerely grateful! Every penny goes directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and their search for a cure for CF. Please, if you haven't yet, consider Clicking Here and investing in those who are living for that hope.

And, if you would like to help me accomplish today's goal, feel free to link this blog post, or repost it on your twitter, facebook, blog, etc.

Thank you so much for helping to make our future bright!

Nate

BTW, did you know Tricia, a CF patient, and I had our very first date 9 years ago this week?

Misunderstood

Hmmm...apparently my tongue-in-cheek tone was missed by more than a few people when I said, in This Post, referring to my very first post on this blog two years ago, that, "I had a ton of followers and commenters in those early days..." What I was actually trying to communicate was, when I first started this blog, it had 0 followers, and my first post had 0 comments...comparing that to today, when the blog now has a bunch of wonderful followers and lots of enouraging comments.

Nate

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sick on the Couch

That's me...sick on the couch since Sunday night...tonsils flared up again with something nasty, fever, chills, achy body, etc. Very glad to know that, this time next week, I will be rid of those two lumps of tissue in the back of my throat forever!

In the meantime, I've been catching up on some photos from the past few weeks, and I thought I'd share a few with you.

One of my best friends, Brent, invited me to officiate his wedding ceremony...it was my first time. We had a great time hanging out with Brent and Katie, I saw several friends from high school that I haven't seen since I graduated ten years ago, and Tricia and I enjoyed our first pleasure trip out of town without Gwyneth (we were excited to come home, though).





We've finally got our guest room set up, and Ralphie has been making the most of our new double mattress (and the hide-away from Gwyneth)...


Meka and Gwyneth have been spending more and more time playing together...


We're enjoying lots of walks around the neighborhood and the beautiful sunsets that come along with the end of summer here on the beach...






We've been involved with a bunch of different fund-raisers for our CF Walk coming up this weekend...Meka loves tagging along when she can.

And, Gwyneth continues to love squishing things against her face...

I hope your September is going well!

Nate

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Duly Noted

Two years ago today I began this blog...in retrospect, it was a fairly good decision.

As you can see for yourself, I had a ton of followers and commenters in those early days........

Nate

Friday, September 4, 2009

One Week

It's been one week since I last posted, so I just wanted to post quickly and say that all is well. With the Great Strides Walk coming up next Saturday, and lots of painting (and regular work) to be done at our church building, it's been a crazy week with little time to blog.

I also sold my faithful truck this week [the one that has been sitting in driveways unused for two years (reminds me...something pretty major took place in our lives right about two years ago...)], so even though we've been a one-car family for a few years anyway, our driveway has a little more room.

We also have a few personal prayer requests. Fawn, the mother of my best friend Zach, is in the hospital with some major heart issues...also, Zach's grandfather was recently diagnosed with advanced Lymphoma and given just a few months to live. If you could think and/or pray for Zach's family right now, I'd really appreciate it.

And, my great aunt Nita, the unofficial matriarch of my dad's side of the family, is in her very last days. She has lived a long and beautiful, well-lived and well-loved life, and at nearly 100, she has told us that she is more than ready to meet her Savior. We're praying that she'll have peace and experience no pain in the next few days.

It's been very wet and cool here for about a week, which means no beach days...but, Gwyneth has been learning a lot about windows and rain...


Nate