Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, ER & cocci reactivation scares

Merry Christmas! As you can see from this year's Christmas picture, Denise looks healthy and Jacob wins the prize for best expression. We're grateful for another year that Denise has been able to continue on the long road to recovery and I can't help but reflect on this picture from 2005 when she wasn't doing so well.
We had a couple points of anxiety since the last post.

During a summer vacation trip we had a scare that resulted in a trip to ER, but all turned out well. Denise was swimming and doing somersaults in the pool with the kids. After getting out, she suddenly complained of severe chest/ab pain, numbness in hands, shortness of breath, and she had a weak pulse & looked very pale. We went to the ER at Palomar hospital in Escondido where they said she had low blood pressure and was dehydrated. At the end of it all, they figured that she had been dehydrated (& hadn't noticed since the weather was so nice and we were in the pool), and perhaps her hernia had become aggravated by the swimming, causing her to hyperventilate while dealing with the pain (causing numbness).

Then more recently (November) we were greatly alarmed when Denise's regular testing for cocci showed that the disease had reactivated. Fortunately a second set of tests showed no cocci. This was corroborated by other test & scans (bone scan, MRI, CT, spinal tap, liver tests). We are encouraged because it seems that Denise's immune system is able to fight off a mild recurrence of the cocci without having to increase her medication. The infectious disease doctor said that much like a person that has had chicken pox will always have the antibodies in their system and could test positive for chicken pox without actually being ill, Denise may test positive for cocci from time to time since the test looks for cocci antibodies. As long as the titers are low, we probably don't have any reason to be alarmed. Nice to hear, but I admit I still get a little nervous thinking about it.

A bittersweet event for Denise came in the form of a job offer. Some parents from my school run a prosthetic business (Aesthetic Prosthetics in Pasadena CA) and needed an artist to paint the products. They picked Denise and started training her for the job. Ultimately she decided to quit. She just didn't have the energy and was getting very fatigued, and she didn't feel that her vision was up to what it should be. She was sad to leave, as she really loved the family that runs the business, the other employees, the work environment, the paychecks, and it seemed like a small miracle to be offered a job in this economy in the first place. At the end of it all, though, it made her feel good that they thought she was talented enough to get a shot at the job. She has expressed frustration with her lack of energy & abilities since her illness, and felt like a bad mom & wife for not being able to help as much as she'd like with the kids, or work to contribute more income to our family (as if that's been a concern after almost losing her). The opportunity to work made her realize just how nice it is for our family to have her alive, and even thriving enough to participate in running the home front.

As we celebrate Christmas and prepare for a new year we hope that you likewise take the time to be thankful for your own life and for the family and friends that make your life enjoyable.


Blogger diane and alan said...

Grace made a comment on the playground the other day about her mom being a good artist. It's cool that she can observe that and be proud of her mom! Diane James

April 26, 2010 10:59 AM  

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