Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jackson is Growing, Growing, Growing!

So many things need updating and I am going to put it on the calendar to spend some time on that. Maybe then I will actually have a chance to do it. The word of autumn this year is: BUSY.

Jackson got his third tooth (first one on the top) on September 12th. He is working hard on three more top teeth right now!

More important, though, is the reason I came here to update.

Jackson took his first steps a couple days ago! I officially got it on video today. So there you have it: our youngest tot is starting to walk. I'm not sure how it is possible! It's bittersweet. Walking at the playground is so much easier than crawling, that's for sure. But walking means he's really growing up. Part of me wants him to stay a baby forever.

Without further delay, here's a very short video of Jackson taking a couple of steps this afternoon.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jackson is 8 Months Old

In the last week Jackson really took off. 

He has learned to crawl. Mostly it's an army crawl, but he is starting to crawl with his belly off the floor, too. 

He started waving. It's the cute, palm-toward-himself wave that babies do. 

He will raise both of his hands into the air if you say, "SO BIG!"

He claps when you clap. 

It's all so sweet. I can't believe how big he is getting. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thyroid Cancer

A couple of years ago, I got sick with a head cold and sore throat. I was feeling my neck and lymph nodes at the time and felt one "really big" lymph node. The only problem was, it never went away after I got over the respiratory virus. When I went to the doctor a few months after that, he informed me that it wasn't a lymph node I was feeling, but my thyroid. He sent me for an ultrasound and to see an Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor. The ENT sent me for an ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration (biopsy). The results from the biopsy were inconclusive. Not malignant, but not normal. His recommendation was wait and see. I decided I didn't like that doctor and went elsewhere. I discovered the UPMC has a thyroid clinic! With world-renowned experts. I'm so happy I went for a second opinion.

My current doctor is one of those experts. He looked at the biopsy results and thought that I should have the tumor removed because the biopsy was inconclusive and that meant we couldn't tell if it was definitely not cancer. So we opted to have the tumor taken out. Within a couple days, we found out we were expecting Jackson. My doctor and his colleagues agreed it was best to wait out the pregnancy to do the surgery. Jackson was born in October. In February, we scheduled my first surgery.

I had the first surgery done in April, knowing in the back of my mind that there was a chance, albeit a very small chance, that it was going to come back as cancerous. I was feeling mostly recovered when my doctor called me and didn't mince any words: it was cancer. Follicular Carcinoma of the Thyroid.

The next step was to fully heal from my first surgery and turn around and have a second surgery to remove the rest of my thyroid.  That's what I had done this week. Step three is to have a radiation treatment.

There are a couple things I would like to say about Follicular Carcinoma:

1. Cancer sucks. Yes, I'm well aware that of all cancers, thyroid cancer is easily treated and highly curable. Don't try to sugar coat it. It's still cancer and that freaking sucks. I know it could be worse, way worse, but for me right now, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I am absolutely allowed to feel like it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It definitely doesn't mean I don't see the good in this (yes, I have four amazing kids to live for and all of that), but please oh please, never tell anyone with cancer that it's not that bad. It is bad for them. And they are totally entitled to that.

2. Thyroid surgery is NOT "easy." I don't know what the hell people are talking about telling me childbirth is more painful and that this surgery is easy peasy. Um, no it isn't. I have had four babies and never felt like I did after these surgeries. The first 36-48 hours after thyroid surgery is horrible. And there is no beautiful newborn baby as a reward for this. Have you ever had to have blood drawn every four hours for 2 days? They run out of places to stick needles. And some blood-draw-ers suck at it and they make mistakes and it hurts almost worse than the actual surgery. I'm covered with bruises. And 15 needles sticks. Four in my feet. Not including my incision, which is inconveniently located in a place on my body that is rarely covered, so like my son Aaron with a bright blue cast on his arm (post about that coming...), people stare & constantly ask me what happened. Blah. I don't really want to talk about my scar. Let's just not talk about it, mmmkay?

3. I'm going to write a post specifically dedicated to the things one should know going into surgery.

4. Going through something like this reveals just how many amazing friends and family you have. It also requires you to swallow your pride, give up control, and accept stuff as it is. And hopefully your friends and family understand that you couldn't possibly thank them properly for all that they've done for you and even thinking about thanking them is daunting.

5. There. I said it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Jackson is 6 Months Old!

I know I'm totally neglecting 'Burgher Tots. My attention is split in a hundred different ways right now and seriously, every single time I sit down to blog something, I get called away from it mid-sentence.

I'm doing our fourth-born an injustice though, because I haven't been logging his accomplishments.

Jackson turned 6 months old on the 19th and within a couple days he learned to roll from his back to his belly and became mobile. He's not actually crawling, but using a series of army crawl scooches and rolls, he has figured out how to go from one side of the living room to the other.

He has also started babbling the consonant sounds. Roger wins again... Jackson's first consonant babble was Da-Da. All the kids said dada first.

He is the most sweet, most laid back, happiest baby I have ever encountered. I'm not just saying thing because he's MY baby, either. Everyone who meets him says the same thing. He is just SO sweet. Truly a joy.

Happy 6 Months, Jackson. We love you!
Jackson's baptism

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Just popping in

I'm just popping in to say I haven't forgotten you.

I've opened Blogger to write here at least a dozen times and every single time I've been called away because someone needed something.

I'll be back, promise. There is just SO much to do right now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jackson Vandervort

Announcing the birth of our fourth child!
Jackson Vandervort
5:01pm, October 19, 2012
7 lbs 13 oz, 19.75in

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

I suppose it's about time for me to update on how the Next Vandervort (Sixth Vandervort? Number Four?) is gestating. For the most part, he's getting along well in there. On the other hand, my general "life status" is busy, stressed, etc., which is making my blood pressure high at times.

It's not always high, but high at the doctor's office twice in a row means I've suddenly gone from a normal fourth pregnancy to a "higher risk" fourth pregnancy. Not so high risk that my regular doctor has referred me to the perinatologists at Magee, but higher risk than normal = more doctor's appointments, more tests, more everything ... except rest.

So right now I'm seeing my doctor twice a week and at those appointments I have to have a Non-Stress Test.  I also had to do a 24-hour urine catch test and have a whole bunch of blood work, an ultrasound to check on baby growth... And I have to take my blood pressure at home multiple times a day.

Everything is fine. No test so far has had any elevated level of concern at all. All my blood pressure readings at home are totally normal. It's only high in the doctor's office, yet, I am still signed up for all of the "extras." So they want me to chill out, but they've added all kinds of extras to my days. Coordinating care for Aaron & Lauren during all of this, plus making sure I'm done so I can get Ian off the bus... taking blood pressures... It's a lot to keep up with on top of all the other things I do. Of course I will do it and I will try to stay positive about it. It could be so much worse. We're very blessed and I know that. It doesn't make it easier, though.

I'm SO tired.

Oh, and I gave up coffee/caffeine. So there's that, too.

I'm currently holding steady at 6 pounds of total weight gain, measuring right on schedule, baby is head down & in the 65th percentile for growth.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ian's first day: Part 2.

Perhaps I shouldn't write the summary of part 2 tonight because I'm pretty sure just writing it down is going to send me into another fit of tears.

Ian didn't have a very good day according to his report when he got home. However, he got a smiley face from the teacher on his daily report (as opposed to the indifferent face or the sad face) so I don't really know what to think. All I know for sure is that Ian was smiling when he got off the bus, but cried on the way home from the bus stop. I'm pretty sure most of his disappointment with day had to do with the unfamiliar and later on, being tired. And I'm praying he has a better day tomorrow. You should pray too.

I feel so bad for him. I wish I could have been there to help him through the frustrating parts. To reassure him that it wouldn't always be hard like that. I know I can't keep him from feeling bad forever, but that doesn't make a "bad" first day any easier to take. I know he probably won't remember this day when he's 30. (I don't remember my first day of Kindergarten, do you? I only remember my shiny new red back pack that was my very own...not a hand me down.) But I don't ever want him to be sad or frustrated or scared.

Onward to better days, Lord willing. Hopefully a good night's sleep puts a whole new spin on things in the morning.