Saturday, October 31, 2009

TOT Preview

Here's a photo from the incredible evening! More to come ASAP!


Hook, Pan and Tink!

TRUNKorTREAT Is TODAY!!!

TRUNK or TREAT OBX, the biggest family Halloween event on the OBX happen tonight from 6-8pm! Don't miss it!

Friday, October 30, 2009

TRUNKorTREAT has More Kick!

TRUNK or TREAT OBX (tomorrow from 6-8pm!) has more kick than a bunch of hippies at a hacky sack convention!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

TRUNKorTREAT - Like a Big 'Ol Fluffy Biscuit Slathered in Molasses

Whether you come in sequins or not, we promise you'll have a great time at TRUNK or TREAT OBX!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TRUNKorTREAT In 3 Days!!!

TRUNK or TREAT OBX will be here before you know it! I guarantee you'll see a few pirates!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TRUNK or TREAT Is Coming This Weekend!

TRUNK or TREAT OBX is only a few days away! It's the most fun your family can have this Halloween, and you never know who is going to show up...

Monday, October 26, 2009

TRUNKorTREAT This Saturday!!!

TRUNKorTREAT OBX is bigger and better than ever this year! We're expecting over 2500 people to come through our parking lot/building in 2 hours this Saturday evening, and we'd love for any and all families with children to join us at the Largest Family Halloween Event on the Outer Banks. Learn more about this totally free event by clicking Here, and take a look at the video below!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eva

Hey...my friend Eva (you may remember her?) is not doing well. After receiving a double lung transplant just a few years ago, she is in chronic rejection. Her lung capacity is below 20%, and although she has been re-listed for another transplant, she may not have much time to spare. I'd love nothing more than to fly up to Canada with Tricia and make a visit and give her a hug, but I can't, so I'm sitting here praying for our friend and hoping that she gets at least one more chance to live life.


Eva is a one-of-a-kind person, and an absolutely incredibly advocate for CF/TX education and research...somebody who I look up to in that regard. I hope that Tricia and I can one day meet Eva in person, but for now, I'd appreciate it very much if you could swing by Eva's Blog with me and leave her a note of encouragement.

Thank you.

Nate

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Surgery Today

Gwyneth had a second eye surgery and ear tubes placed today (in the same OR). Her First Eye Muscle Surgery in March made an immediate difference, but her right eye slowly reverted again over the next several months. The success rate for this surgery is 80%, which means Gwyneth fell into the 20% the first time around...we're hoping this one will be successful.

The ear tubes should make a huge difference in her hearing. Although she's had only one ear infection, she has had fluid in her ears for a long time, which has hindered her ability to hear clearly. The surgeon today told us that she had a lot of fluid during surgery, which he had to clean out before placing the tubes. The tubes should relieve the vacuum pressure that builds up behind her ear drums because her eustachian tubes that run from her middle ear to the back of her throat are so small that they do not easily drain on their own. As she grows bigger, the tubes should eventually fall out on their own and the ear drums will heal...hopefully by that time, her ears will be able to drain on their own.

We had to be at the hospital (CHKD) this morning at 7am, but since we drove yesterday from a few days in New Jersey with Tricia's family, we decided to grab a hotel room near the hospital last night instead of driving all the way home and then back again super early this morning. Gwyneth was in surgery at 9:45, and we were called into the post-op recovery room around 11:15. Because she is older and more aware this time around, she was much more cranky and agitated coming out of surgery this time than last. She spent the first hour squirming and crying before we finally made it to her car seat where she is much happier. She slept most of the trip home and then for a few hours this afternoon. She was feeling much better this evening, probably with the anisthesia and morphine out of her system, and she is currently falling to sleep in Tricia's lap, sucking down some pedialyte and listening to the Angels beat the Yankees.

We're hoping to see a big change in her ability to see and hear in the next few days...we'll keep you posted!

Nate

Friday, October 16, 2009

Answers

Some really great questions this time, and we've had fun answering all of them!

Because a lot of questions were about and for Tricia, I thought I'd let her answer those...

How about a "Tricia" update? How are her lungs? Is she feeling healthy and able to do everything she wants to do? What about her other CF-related issues? Is life after transplant better, worse or exactly what she thought it would be?

My lungs are doing well. They are not at %100 function, which still make exercise difficult for me, but I can't complain. The only thing I feel restricted by is full cardio workouts. I have other CF related issues and transplant related issues, but I don't feel like discussing those. Life post-transplant is definitely easier than pre-transplant and I wouldn't change it for anything.

What's the one thing you'd say to the parent of a child with CF?

Be consistent, encouraging, creative and show discipline when needed. I needed to be shown discipline a lot during my high school years (to keep on my meds and treatments). Be involved with the CF community and don't limit your child if possible. Allow them to dream and achieve all their dreams!

What's a typical day in your families life? Is Gwyneth a good sleeper? What do the girls do during the cold season (when they have to hibernate away from germs) to keep busy and entertained?

A typical day-there is none. Many days involve medical appointments, visiting friends, family, errands, going to the YMCA or park, traveling to church to visit papa or one of his games he is refereeing. Spending our evenings together for dinner, then bath, play, reading time and bed. During the MLB games, we visit G and G at night since we don't have cable.

What are your favorite parts about motherhood? What activities are her bonding times with Gwyneth?

I love all parts of motherhood except when Gwyn is sick. It's nice relating to both my mom and sisters during this season in life and sharing mothering experiences. It is also nice spending play dates with my friends who are also mothers.

I wondered how you were taught about Jesus when you were younger, and how you share your faith with Gwyneth?

Look at My Blog regarding the first question. Right now, just sharing my life and being an example. Using books like the Jesus Bible and some other stories that share values and character traits we hold dear. Lastly, spending time with friends and family who share the same Christian values we share.

Personality wise, who is Gwynethth more like?
I don't know yet. She is strong willed, silly, and very loving. I guess a lot like her papa now.

How do you manage anxiety about the future?

I trust in God daily and don't worry about the future. My personality tends to worry about daily, insignificant things.


The rest of the answers are from me (Nate).

I just want to know how that sweet baby girl of yours got to be so cute?!


I think that's a pretty self-explanatory question, considering most people say she looks "just like her papa".

I'd love a big Gwyneth update! How is she growing and what milestones is she hitting? Do you have any long-term concerns for her?

Gwyneth has actually been growing very little for the past few months. She has been plateaued around 18-19 lbs since July. When you see her in person, you immediately notice that she is very long and slender for a baby of her general weight, which means she doesn't have any of the usual fat rolls of a baby her size. She has three cousins who are all about a year younger than her and about her same weight right now, but they're all a few inches shorter than Gwyneth and much "chubbier".

Recently, she's learned to say "up" when she wants to be picked up (which gives her two words now). She's also recently learned to make a G sound, which sometimes sounds like a K instead. She's crawling all over the place, although her crawl is a little awkward looking (have you ever seen a Komodo Dragon walk?). She is scooting really well along our furniture, and she'll do a pull-up (with her feet coming off the ground) hanging from the kitchen table if you let her. Her upper body is very strong and pretty well coordinated, and we're hoping her legs catch up soon. And, she's learned how to blow kisses with her hand.

We don't have any long-term concerns for her.

Does Gwyneth still drink any kind of formula or is she on regular milk now, and baby food/real food?

Gwyneth still drinks formula to give her as many calories as possible. She's a picky eater, but we think that's in large part because of her other developmental issues. She's just now learning to feed herself with a spoon and fork, and we try to feed her just about anything we want to along with the formula. She's not big into baby food.

How do you/will you handle Halloween as Christian parents? Do you have any Scripture-based evidence to avoid Halloween, or do you see it as harmless fun?

We view Halloween as a neutral thing. Some people use it for evil, others for good, and some just like to have harmless, but pointless fun with it. Our church uses this holiday to serve our community by offering Trunk or Treat every Halloween night (click the link to learn more). We offer a safe and family friendly opportunity for people in our community to do traditional trick or treating with a twist. We offer carnival games, cotton candy, hotdogs, drinks, popcorn, giant moon bounces, and tons of other stuff, all for free. This year, we're expecting over 2500 people to come through our event, most of whom do not attend church anywhere and do not have a relationship with God. It's so much more fun and eternally impacting than barricading ourselves in our home out of fear, or even simply going out trick or treating just to serve ourselves. Anyone with children under 18 who is reading this is welcome to come!

What are your favorite parts about fatherhood and what do your bonding times with Gwyneth entail?

I love watching Gwyneth explore and learn new things. Since her growth and development has been so slow, we've had more time than most parents to enjoy having a small, dependent baby, and every new thing she learns to do is that much more exciting. I love her kisses and her smiles and laughs. I love caring for her...I hog most of her nightly baths, and enjoy fixing her bottles and medications (much the same way I enjoy caring for Tricia's medical needs). And, I love coming home for lunch and after work to see her smile and reach up to have me to take her in my arms. I also enjoy any opportunity that I get to spend with her by myself out in public...especially now that she's wearing her glasses...she attracts a lot of "what a cute baby" attention. :)

Also, how'd you pick you G's glasses?

Tricia picked out her glasses, and let me tell you, there is apparently an incredibly small market for tiny glasses because it took her forever to find what she was looking for. The brand is Miraflex. They're incredibly flexible and very difficult to break. We bought a size that fit her now but also has lots of room to grow. We've also ordered another pair from a different manufacturer, which we're hoping will arrive soon.

How do they work out the prescription for Gwyneth's glasses?

I can't tell you exactly how it works, but with some eye drops, prisms and other equipment, the doctor can determine her prescription. I can tell you that she has some fairly thick lenses.

Personality wise, who is Gwyneth more like?

We see a lot of both of us in her. She's definitely goofy like me, and very sweet like her mother. She's a sleepy-head and a talker like Tricia, and nosy and intense like me.

I was just wondering if Gwyneth is in early intervention?

Gwyneth sees an occupational therapist and a physical therapist once a week for an hour each. She also sees a speech therapist once every two weeks for an hour. Based on our experience, we'd encourage any family with a child who is qualified to receive early intervention to take advantage of it.

I wondered how you and Tricia were taught about Jesus when you were younger, and how you share your faith with Gwyneth?

We were taught, and we're teaching Gwyneth, that our faith in the living God is about life, about a moment by moment relationship with Him and those around us. Every decision we make comes out of our world view, and we hope that world view comes out of our relationship with God and our trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Like our parents before us, neither are we perfect...but, we're continually learning about loving God and loving others, and we hope that, as Gwyneth grows older, she'll hear and see our faith in action in the big and small ways in the things we say and do. We hope that our relationships with our family and friends will reflect God's love for Gwyneth, and that those same people will also help us to show Gwyneth what an authentic relationship with God is all about.

Although we hope to be Gwyneth's most effective teachers for many years, we also believe that more is caught than taught. Practically speaking, Tricia has already begun to spend time reading from a children's Bible with Gwyneth, we are teaching her about God's Word through songs and stories, and we involve her, as much as she can be involved, in our family prayer. We also bring Gwyneth along in as much of our adult lives as possible...she sees us serving in ministry at church, she goes with us to serve our community, she is present at our "small group", she comes to watch our band practice on Thursday nights, etc.

Do you have any favorite high calorie foods or recipes that I could use?

Ice cream.

Does G still use oxygen?


No...she hasn't been on oxygen for about a year now.

How is your gorgeous raven haired niece doing? Do her and your blessed white rose have fun playing together?

Evaine is doing very well. She's becoming very aware of her surroundings and is beginning to sit up on her own. She and Gwyneth get to spend time together each week, and it won't be long before they're both playing together all over the place.


I wondered how Jeff was getting on?

My brother-in-law is doing very well, and, in fact, he just received a clean bill of health this past week as he continues to remain in full remission. We're very happy for him and his family!

I wondered if you have noticed a big difference in the quality of sleep that you are now getting since your surgery and are mostly healed from it?


I haven't noticed a "big" difference in the quality of sleep, but I can tell that I'm not nearly as tired during the day. Tricia says I seem to be sleeping much more soundly, and I can tell when I wake up, that I'm often waking up from extended REM, which is something I rarely used to do. I'm planning on having another sleep study in a few months when everything is completely healed up to determine how much of a difference the surgery has made. Like I've said already, the surgery and recovery were much easier than I had expected it to be, and I'd recommend it to anyone who has serious health issues due to large tonsils.

I'm wondering if Tricia is diabetic on top of everything else, or if she needs insulin because of something to do with CF. Also, if she is diabetic, did you find that hospital staff really don't seem to know much at all about diabetes and how to control it?

Tricia is diabetic...she developed gestational diabetes while she was pregnant with Gwyneth (is that redundant?), which has persisted because of the transplant meds she is now on. Many TX patients develop diabetes.

We have had more issues with Tricia's endocrine team at the hospital than any other medical team...it took them forever to figure out how to control her diabetes, and we continue to have issues whenever Tricia is admitted. We know that her case is more complicated than most, because of her health history, her high fat, high caloric diet and her medications, but it can be frustrating. But, compared to the alternative, it's not such a big deal.

How do you balance Tricia and Gwyneth's health issues with having 2 pets? I know you did some serious renovations before you moved in, but have you developed any strategies for winning the battle against pet hair?

Both of our animals shed quite a bit, and along with a few other good reasons, we decided not to have any carpet in our house. All of our new floors are tile and laminate hardwood, and although we can see dirt and hair and other stuff a lot more than if we had carpet, it's also much easier to clean. We have one area rug in the living room, but that's also very easy to clean. We also had a high-tech air filtration system installed, which is a huge help. The doctors informed us that, as long as Tricia isn't constantly rubbing her face in their fur, the dog and cat shouldn't pose any issue for her.

What's the one thing you'd say to the parent of a child with CF?

I'd say, there is a great future for your child if that's what you hope for. There is almost no reason why a child born today with CF, diagnosed early on and given quality treatment can't live a nearly normal and long life. There are a few drugs that are just months away from hitting the market...these drugs have the potential to literally double the life expectancy of a child born today with CF. And, I truly believe that we are getting very close to finding a cure.

Are you guys getting a swine flu vaccine?

No, but we did all get the "normal" flu shot.

What's a typical day in your families life? Is Gwyneth a good sleeper? What do the girls do during the cold season (when they have to hibernate away from germs) to keep busy and entertained? What TV shows do you and Tricia enjoy watching?

A typical day for us involves me getting up around 8am with Gwyneth. I'll spend a few minutes with her before taking her into our room to wake up mommy together. We'll spend some time snuggling in bed, and then get up to eat breakfast, shower, etc. I'm usually at work an hour or two later. The girls will often run errands in the morning before Gwyneth goes down for a nap around noon. I go home pretty often for lunch, and then back to work while Tricia either takes a nap or does some things around the house. Gwyneth usually sleeps for about 2 hours, and then she and Tricia will go out to spend some time with friends, at the park, beach, etc. I'm usually home from work around 5, and we eat supper together. While the weather's nice in the evenings, we take lots of walks, run errands, and spend time around the house reading books and playing with Meka. We always end the day with a bath for Gwyneth, reading a few books together, and singing a good-night song. Gwyneth is usually in bed around 9pm, and she'll usually sleep through the night until 8 the next morning.

During the cold season, we'll spend more time at home than usual, and lots of time hanging out with family and friends. Because Gwyneth is mobile and good at entertaining herself, it's much easier to stay busy.

We actually don't have cable...it's too big of an expense, and we know we'd end up spending way too much time in front of the tv if we could. We do watch a few shows on the internet, and we rent DVD's from time to time (and we'll hang out with friends or family if there's something we really want to watch...like playoff baseball!). Gwyneth watches some Baby Einstein every now and then, but for the most part, we don't spend a lot of time in front of the tv.

What are some Christmas traditions you want to start with Gwyneth? What were your favorite ones? How about Tricia's?

My mom always made a big deal about Christmas...we basically started celebrating the day after Thanksgiving, and growing up, we had too many traditions to count, most of which I would love to continue with Gwyneth. Some of my favorites include picking out a new ornament every year (mine were all nutcrackers and soldiers of some kind), putting up the live tree as early as possible and making a big deal about the decorating (we had a ton of very sentimental ornaments), listening to and singing Christmas songs 24/7, watching movies like "It's A Wonderful Life", "White Christmas" and "A Christmas Carol", opening one gift on Christmas Eve, reading the nativity story from Luke on Christmas morning, and going out to watch a movie on Christmas Day.

What denomination is Nags Head Church? And what do you like most about being a worship leader/pastor?

Nags Head Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, although we're about as un-traditionally Southern Baptist as any SBC church. I love investing my life and gifts into the lives of others...I believe that there is no greater calling than to use the resources God has given you to show love to others. It doesn't hurt that I get to rock with an awesome band a few times every week either.

You mentioned on twitter a while ago that your work at NHC was going to be cut back to more "seasonal" work. What are your hours like and how does it affect your family life?

I'm basically working a very part-time job right now...any hours I spend there and any money I make there is deducted from my work time and pay from the church. This gives me more opportunities to be out in the community and gives our church some extra financial help during these difficult economic times. This was a decision that our staff made to help our church family through this season, and it's also giving me some good exercise. It's not affecting my family life at all, except that my hours away from home are moved around a bit during the week.

What is one major thing that you would like to accomplish in the next few months?

Hmmm...I would love to lose at least 20 more lbs. I've lost a total of 30 lbs in the past three months, half of that before my surgery and half since.

Having seen a show on the OBX, I wonder if you talk like them?

Not sure exactly what that means...the OBX is very much a melting pot. Before my generation, there were very few people who we born and raised here...growing up, I only knew of a few people my age who were born here on the beach. My mom is from VA and has a bit of a southern accent...my dad was in a military family and lived in a few different places around the country, so I, and most young people who grew up here, really don't have a heavy accent. You will find some very strange accents if you talk with the older generations who were born and bred in places like Ocracoke and Wanchese, but there are very few of those folks left.

H
ow do you - both of you - manage anxiety about the future?

To be honest, neither of us has much anxiety about the future. Yes, we have our moments, but we believe that our future is secure because of Christ, and that God always wants what is best for us, even if it doesn't appear so at the time. We certainly have a responsibility to make wise and healthy decisions that can affect our future, but none of us really has much control over what tomorrow will bring...so, why worry about it? Any time that we spend worrying about what could happen in the future is time we're stealing from our present. We accept the lot we've been given and the life we've already lived...Tricia's CF and Gwyneth's prematurity are as much a part of who we are as anything else in our lives, and based on the faithfulness of God in our past, to worry about the future would seem silly.

Is there anything specific we could pray for?

If you want to pray with us, we're praying that several things will fall in place very soon that will allow Gwyneth's growth and development to speed up. We're hoping that her glasses, her upcoming eye surgery, her upcoming ear tubes, and some new meds that she is on to help with some digestion issues (which should help with her appetite) will all help to spark her development.

Thanks again for the great questions! Answering them kept me busy this week while my girls were away in NJ. BTW, if you have any good follow-up questions based on this post, I'll be more than happy to try to answer them in the comments section.

Nate & Tricia

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Q&A

I haven't done a Q&A in a long time...I figure this might be a good time to do it while everything is relatively calm in our lives, especially considering that lots of people have been asking lots of questions recently.

I'll keep this post open until 3pm on Thursday, and then get my answers back to you ASAP! If you think you're question may have already been asked, check out the other Q&A posts I've done in the past.

Nate

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oreo Happiness Explosion

I gave Gwyneth a Halloween Oreo the other day...10 minutes later...


















I'm pretty sure she still has some stuck to her teeth...

I hated Oreos until I was about 20 years old, now I can eat the whole box with a few glasses of milk...these are the things that happen to you when you fall in love with a CFer...

Nate

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Glasses!

We picked up Gwyneth's first pair up prescription glasses today! Beyond the fact that she's incredibly cute, we're also excited that she can actually see what the world is really supposed to look like for the first time! Here are a few pics from today (the last one is my favorite!)...we can tell she can see much better, and as long as she's busy, she doesn't even bother trying to take them off.









Nate

Blessed

It hits me often...the understanding of how blessed Tricia and Gwyneth and I are. To have both of my girls alive, even with their lingering medical needs, is simply unexplainable.

I have spent many hours talking with and reading the stories of people who have lost their premature children and their CF/TX loved ones. I try to empathize with their loss and pain, but I know that I can't fully understand where they find themselves.

According to medical science, I should be one of those people, in both categories.

I shouldn't be sharing pictures and stories of the three of us together.

I shouldn't be asking for you to think of my wife and daughter's needs.

I shouldn't be thinking of falling asleep in my wife's arms tonight and waking up to my daughter's laughter tomorrow morning.

According to medical science, we beat the odds...we're lucky.

According to God, I am blessed.

I can't explain to you why we are where we are and not where we were told we should be. And, although I don't fully understand why, I can share with you the blessings that have come out of our journey.

I don't take it for granted. This is why I can't complain, publicly, about our current situation. I have my moments, and my days...I've had my desperate conversations with God and family and friends. But, no matter how hard I try, I can't get passed the fact that I am blessed.

Nate

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last CF Event of the Year!


This is our last Cystic Fibrosis fund-raiser of 2009, and from what I can tell, we've pretty much saved the best for last. The Pearl is one of Tricia's favorite OBX restaurants...it's located on the beach, with some awesome views of the dunes and ocean. The food is as good as it gets, the music will be top-notch, and the items up for silent auction have been saved especially for this event.

This might also be your last time to hang out with Tricia and Gwyneth and I before my girls go into semi-hibernation from the cold-weather germs. Seats are very limited, and if you or anyone you know is interested in purchasing a ticket, call the phone number above or send me an Email ASAP!

Thanks!

Nate

Friday, October 9, 2009

BLEH!

This may be TMI for you, but here's what it looks like after Gwyneth spits up all over her shirt...

BLEH!

Nate

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Public Service Announcement

From personal experience...

NEVER use eventtickets.net to purchase event tickets...their online security is worthless and they don't care...apparently they either allow hackers to work for them and use your personal information, or they're too lazy to maintain a high level of security to protect their customers from outside hackers...

Tricia's email was hacked into because of eventtickets.net's lack of security today. She contacted them, they confirmed it was because of a purchase she made there today, and they basically said, "Not our problem".

So, if you're a friend, and you get an email about me being held at gunpoint in London and needing money, ignore it and accept our apologies.

And, if anyone who gives a rip from eventtickets.net reads this and cares to contact me, I'd be more than happy to share a bit of my mind with you.

Thanks! Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Nate

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wedding Bells for Jessica Claire!

Just taking a moment out of my normal schedule to say congratulations to one of the sweetest and most awesomely talented photographers ever, Jessica Claire. Today is Jessica's wedding day, and I for one can't wait to see the photos of her incredibly unique and, I'm sure, beautiful wedding. You may remember that Jessica blessed us with a beautiful gift of a photo shoot (Here) just after Tricia was discharged from her transplant surgery...we treasure those photographs for many reasons, and are so thankful for Jessica's heart and her friendship.


Have a totally awesome day, Jessica!

Nate

All The Good Details

I've had many people ask me specifics about my recent uvulo-palato-pharyngoplasty (removal of the tonsils + removal of uvula and shortening of the palate in the back of the throat), so I thought I'd share as much info as possible about the surgery and recovery in one post. If medical terms and details make you squeamish, you may not want to read this one...

As I mentioned in This Post, I've known for several years that my tonsils were abnormally ginormous, and have also suspected for a few years that I may have sleep apnea. After years of talking with different doctors, I finally found a surgeon who recommended surgery, and with the help of some very severe sleep apnea scores, the decision for me was an easy one.

I had surgery on Monday, September 14 around 11am at Duke. The surgery lasted about 45 minutes...I was asleep and intubated. Because there are greater risks involving this surgery in adults than children, including a much longer recovery time, they kept me overnight for observation. I was given and IV for fluids, as well as morphine and oxycodone that first day, and sent home with a prescription for oxycodone.

Other than some moderate pain in my throat, which did not keep me from drinking lots of ice water, my only immediate issue was some moderate pain, swelling and numbness in my tongue. I was told that this is common, because of the tools used to keep the mouth open for surgery, and that my tongue should return to normal after a few days...I was given some steroids to help ease the swelling. My throat did not hurt at all at any time to talk, although I could not raise my voice or sing without experiencing pain until about day 10. However, even now, three weeks post-surgery, and after 5 days of steroids and antibiotics last week, my tongue is still a little swollen and numb, although not nearly as bad as it was. I'm hoping it returns to normal soon, because I'm still speaking with the tiniest slur...

I was very determined to take my pain meds every three hours, which I did for about 10 days, even waking myself up during the night to take them. This, along with drinking tons of ice water really kept the pain and swelling down and allowed me to swallow that first week with minimal to moderate pain. I did have an allergic reaction to the oxycodone, which meant that I also took benadryl with it every three hours, which meant that I was especially tired and groggy all the time, which was totally fine with me.

I spent most of my time that first week sitting on the couch updating facebook, watching DVDs (thanks to my awesome friends), playing my brother-in-law's Wii, and drinking lots of ice water and slushies. Other than the constant grogginess, I was still able to spend a lot of time with Tricia and able to play and care for Gwyneth. Other than church the first Sunday and a trip or two out in the car, I didn't venture out of the house much until about day 8.

You can read more about some of the foods and stuff I ate the first few days after surgery in the post I linked above. I began to eat lots of soup around day 5, and I ate my first real meal (spaghetti and meatballs) on day 11 and had my first bowl of crunchy cereal (and my first milk) on day 12. By day 13 I was eating just about whatever I wanted to.

Although I'd lost about 10-15 lbs in the 6 weeks before the surgery on my own, I lost an additional 15-20 pounds in the first two weeks after the surgery, which is cool with me. It took me a good four days after I stopped taking the pain meds and started to eat regular food before the grogginess began to dissipate and my energy returned. Although I worked at home a bit that second week, my first full day back at work was on day 16, and I was back on stage singing by the third Sunday.

By day 17, all of the soft scabs were gone and most, if not all of the swelling in my throat seemed to have resolved. I do have several sutures that are still dissolving...I've actually had to reach back there with some scissors and trim a few of them because they were sitting on the back of my tongue and making me gag. I never did experience the scabs falling off and gagging me the way many people told me they would...from what I could tell, they kind of just faded away slowly without much problem, for which I am very thankful...I'm thinking the fact that I was constantly drinking water may have helped with this.

Other than the issue with my tongue, the only other problem I've experienced has involved my shortened palate. Although swallowing is also much, much easier...I knew before the surgery that my tonsils were affecting my ability to swallow...I am having to "relearn" how to swallow because some food and drink is actually getting stuck up on top of the very back of the pallate (in my nasal cavity), which is more uncomfortable and frustrating than anything...but, it is getting better. I still have the slightest bit of pain and discomfort in the back of my throat when swallowing or yawning, and I can still see a few places back there that are a little red and irritated.

From what I can tell so far, I am sleeping much better and am feeling much more well-rested in the morning and throughout the day. Tricia reports that I've yet to snore, which means she's probably sleeping better as well. I am unable to do some of the things I could do before the surgery, like "scratching" the back of my throat by sucking air between my tonsils and tongue (anyone know an alternate way to scratch this area?). I am also having to relearn how to clear my throat of flem and how to do that loud, disgusting, reverse-nose-blow thing that most of us do to clear our sinuses when we think nobody's looking/listening.

I can also tell that my breathing while I'm awake is much easier. So much so that I've noticed my nose "runs" just a little bit sometimes because I'm breathing a greater volume of saturated carbon dioxide out of my nose (at least, that's my assumption?). Although I don't think my speaking voice has changed, I certainly have much more space for my singing voice, especially my classical voice, which is great. If I could compare, in numbers, how much open space I have in my throat now to before, I'd guess that, if I now have %100 of the space I should have, I only had about %35 of that open space before.

From what I can tell from my own experience and from reading/hearing the experiences of other adults who had the same or similar surgeries, my pain and discomfort was definitely not nearly as severe as many others. I was told about possible bleeding, which I didn't see an ounce of, about the scabs falling off, which didn't happen, about days 1-2 being easier than 3-7, which wasn't the case (my pain and discomfort seemed to diminish a bit every day), about possible ear pain, which I did not experience, etc. All of that seems pretty significant considering I'm typically not very pain tolerant. As I've mentioned already, I'd attribute my relative "easy" recovery to sticking with my pain meds and drinking tons of liquids.

I'm certainly thankful to finally be rid of those horrid tonsils...as I mentioned, I can already tell a difference in my quality of life, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks bring as everything completely heals and the sutures dissolve. I'm also hoping to have another sleep study in a few months to truly discover if this has helped alleviate or even completely eliminate my sleep apnea issues.

Let me know if you have any questions about my surgery and recovery, and I'll try to answer them in the comments section.

Thanks for your prayer and encouragement (and patience) over the past few weeks!

Nate

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cell Phone Photos

Here are a few photos over the past several days, via my cell phone...

Chocolate Pudding is a favorite...

Taking a walk around the neighborhood...

The aftermath of an unsupervised Gwyneth book session...this is her reading chair that she randomly climbs into to "read"...
Dollar taco night at The South Beach Grille...
Playground...


My steak fajitas...mmmmmm...
The view from my hot date last night...
Pug yawn...

Nate

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Shutes and Ladders

This was too cute not to show...she loves this, and, when she's wearing the right clothes (the ones that are best for sliding), she'll slide all by herself all the way down. Make sure you catch her laugh at the very end...

video

Nate

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tea & Fashion Show


I'm being told by those organizing this Tea & Fashion Show, sponsored by Shay Leslie Boutique, that it's basically a must-attend event for every lady on the OBX. I'm not sure I understand why, as I'm neither a big fan of tea or ladies fashion, but I'm a little bummed that I'm not allowed to go, because The Dunes Restaurant (one of my favorite local eats) has been remodeled (the interior and the menu) and I've yet to check it out.

Tickets are also being sold at the door for only $10, and every penny goes directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. If you or anyone you know of the female persuasion is interested in this event, please get on it, because this event is TOMORROW (Saturday)!!!

Nate