cancer, graduation, med school, moving, parenting, Uncategorized

2017 RECAP

Well since I skipped a whole 2 years of blogging I’ve decided to do a recap of 2017 and then I’ll take on 2018 next. I can honestly say that 2017 had more ups and downs than any other year in my life. So many amazing things happened but several lows came my way too. The year ended with one devastating blow pushing it to the top of the list of worst year I’ve ever had. The year got off to a great start. In March Quinn turned two. Her personality grew just as fast as her hair did. Those crazy curls and her sweet smile  She is our little tornado princess. It’s impossible stay mad at her because of how cute she is!

In May it finally happened. Leslie finally graduated from medical school. It was such an amazing weekend full of celebrating all of her hard work. I can honestly say those 4 years were the longest years of my life!

She matched to an internal medicine residency in Warren, Michigan that would start in July. While her 4 years of medical school were over it was time for the next step. Her 3 year residency program would begin July 1st and even though.

We made the most of our summer and enjoyed time with friends and family. I would say that our favorite part of the summer was our week at the beach with my family. We had some great family pictures made. The kids LOVE the water and had so much fun playing in the sand. It was a great getaway for our family.

It wasn’t an ideal situation but the kids and I were not able to make the move with her that summer. We agreed that I would make the move to Michigan at the end of November or early December. Nathan was entering into his senior year of high school with his senior football season starting in in August. This was going to be such a big year for him and we knew that I couldn’t miss it.

We put Noah into a ABA (Autism Behavioral Analysis) Preschool full-time. He made so much progress in there summer program that we decided to pull him out of the public school blended class to be at the therapy center to help better prepare him for kindergarten. In this environment his teachers are trained to work with autistic children and could help shape and change any undesired behaviors this crucial year before kindergarten.

We had Quinn’s speech evaluated after she turned 2. They determined that she had a significant speech delay and would need speech therapy at least 2 days a week. She started speech therapy with the sweetest speech therapist. They encouraged us to have her around kids as much as possible because with Noah being very limited verbally she would benefit being in a environment with typical children to help improve her language. So she continued at her Mother’s Day Out Program twice a week.  She loved being the center of attention there and  she loved her teacher, Ms. Fiona. I think Ms Fiona just might be her favorite person ever. Being with the other children helped tremendously with her speech delay and her expressive language shot through the roof!

Nathan’s senior football season was amazing. I loved volunteering with the other Senior Moms to do things for the boys. I loved every min of watching him play. He was kicking better than ever. He kicked over 70 points for the year. They went undefeated in the regular season making them Division Champs. He was voted onto the All State Team for kicking and punting. He was Kicker of the Year for Greater Nashville Area. I could not have been prouder of the way he ended his high school football career.

I left my job the middle of November to get ready for the move to Michigan in December. I had started working at St Thomas when I was 20 years old. It was my first “real job”. I worked there while I finished school then took a night shift position in the respiratory department after I completed my degree. It was not just a place I worked. These coworkers were my family and my dearest friends. This wasn’t just a job for me because I loved what I did. I loved taking care of my patients in the ICU. I loved the challenge of taking care of the sickest patients in the hospital. To say I was sad to leave was an understatement but it was incredibly sweet of all my coworkers to make sure I knew how much I would be missed.

At the end of November with football season over we finally made the move to Michigan. The kids were excited to be in a new space and loved playing in our new backyard. There was so much to explore. They barely stayed inside for more than a few mins. Noah was able to start into a new preschool after being there for a week. I was super anxious about it but because the class only had 6 students and then there was a teacher and her assistant in the room. I still needed to set up ABA therapy but was happy to go ahead and get him started on a schedule. I had plenty to do to keep me busy around the house. When we got there Les hadn’t done much other than move her clothes into the closet and set up the TV. The house felt like a sad blank space and I needed the house to feel like home as soon as possible. I spent hours unpacking, organizing and decorating the house. Eventually I started to see a glimmer of this being home!

On November 31st I received a call that knocked the breath out of me. Nathan had been having persistent knee pain despite football being over. I scheduled an appointment with a orthopedic doctor. My dad called and said that the doctor isn’t worried about his knee his more concerned about the mass or cyst below his knee and they were sending him for a MRI. My dad is a preacher with no medical background so I called the doctors office myself. Once I was on the phone with the doctor he told me that the x-ray showed a tumor just below his knee and believed it was cancer. When I hung up I started frantically looking for flights and packing bags for myself and the kids. Booked 3 one way tickets back to Nashville for the next morning. Les dropped us off at the airport and kissed us goodbye not knowing when we’d be back in Michigan. Then there we were back in Nashville in less than 2 weeks. Nathan’s father and I sat in the waiting room of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital with Nathan waiting for him to have multiple scans and tests. I was terrified to put it lightly. Then begins the long story of Nathan’s diagnosis and treatment and I’ll share all about that in posts to come. (The cancer in Nathan’s leg is illuminated in bright white in the picture below.)

But these last photos are of the kids together December 2017. We had no idea how Nathan would feel or how much weight he would lose once treatment began so I had a friend do a photo shoot of them together for me. I absolutely love how they turned out.

Then to round out 2017 I have a few photos from Christmas with our family.

And there it is 2017’s Recap!

~M

Uncategorized

Life in the Mountains

Well it has been a while since I took the time to write about what has been going on in our world. Things just seemed to get rolling so fast once Les started school. I feel like I’m adjusting well to life in the mountains. Things here move at a slower pace but I am finding myself embracing that instead of hating it. Every morning I drive Nathan to school and on my way there and back I just look at the mountains in amazement. There hasn’t been a morning that I havent thought to myself, “this is just beautiful”. I often wonder if the people who have always lived here appreciate the scenery as much as I do. I hope that as long as we live here I always take the time to appreciate the amazing views and beautiful mountains that surround us. IMG_6374 Here’s a picture that I took of the view just to the right of our home.

Yes the views are amazing but there have been so many changes. Living here is very different.

I made a list of the things I’ve had to get used to living in the country…

* People ride their 4-wheelers EVERYWHERE.

* Lots of dead animals on the road…I’ve never seen so many dead skunks, possums, squirrels, rabbits, etc. in my entire life!

* No local trash pick up. We have to take our trash to the dump ourselves and I am not a fan of this at all. Luckily it is only a mile down the road but still a pain to do it and STINKY too!!!

* Cows grazing in our backyard and mooing extremely loudly at times.

* No Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

* Very limited shopping options.

* Being the only lesbian family

For over a year now we have prepared for Leslie to start Med School. We knew that school would become her full-time job. Well my goodness has it ever been that and then some! She is usually gone 8 to 12 hours a day. She has lectures and labs every day. And then study time on top of all that. I can’t begin to keep up with the crazy schedule that she has. I do my best to be supportive the best way I know how. I keep up with the boys and the house. I do all the cooking and cleaning so she can focus on school. She has been pretty stressed out to say the least. But we’re learning a routine and working out the kinks in our schedules. I still drive back to Nashville every weekend to work for now. I know most of you are probably thinking I’m crazy but honestly its really not that bad. I leave on Friday when Nathan gets out of school. I drive 3 hours and 30 mins drop the boys off with my parents then go in to work for the night. I work again Saturday night then drive back to east Sunday evening after getting some rest. I make a little bit of money and my job gives me and the boys health insurance. I know that one day I may get tired of it but for now its working so I’ll keep doing it until I decide its too much.

I’m excited to tell you that I’m making friends! Yay! I joined the SAA (Student Advocate Assoc.) here at LMU, which is made up mostly of Med Student spouses. And through the group I have met several other stay at home moms and other spouses. This group seems to be like a close-knit group of girls that really help each other through the Med School process while their spouses are busy with school. Everyone has been very nice and welcoming so far. Of course I always have that small fear of being discriminated against when people learn we are a lesbian family but so far we have had no problems despite living in a conservative area.

Nathan has made several friends at his new school and is transitioning well. He still misses his friends at his old school but is doing really well here. I do worry that he isn’t being challenged enough here at this school but I am just happy that he is fitting in and not begging to go back to his old school every day.

Well wish us luck as we continue working to make these mountains home!

~M