Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brian's Family

Dad here. Recently many of my friends have asked how my mom and grandma are doing. I wasn’t sure how comfortable I felt writing this on the blog. Well, obviously you know how I decided. I’ll start by talking about my mom. The following is something my sister wrote; I couldn’t have said it any better.

Mom started to have symptoms in August of '06. She was starting to slur her words a bit... After a couple of weeks she decided to go to the emergency room because she thought she may have had a stroke. It was decided that she didn't have a stroke but they really didn't know what happened. So more doctors visits and more tests... still no answers. At some point during the year mom's speech got better and she was able to go back to work. She finished out the school year. But things seemed to kick back into gear and her speech was getting bad again. She was sent to USC to hopefully figure out what was going on. Sadly she was officially diagnosed Sept. 20, 2007 with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's disease" Unfortunately since mom's diagnosis 4 months ago she has been progressively getting worse. She has weakness in her in left leg and her speech has gotten worse. She has a lot of pain in her left arm, which isn't typical of ALS. We think this is from a fall she had in August. She is going to see an orthopedist to hopefully fix this for her. Her diet has to be modified to softer food and thicker liquids so she doesn't choke or aspirate. She can still drive and be on the computer and text message. Mom goes to an ALS Clinic at Cedars Sinai about every three months. It's a one stop shop where all the doctors and therapists come together on Wednesdays to have this clinic. There are only a few of its kind and we are very thankful for all their hard work and support. Mom is trying to stay strong and positive. We remain hopeful and will never give up! Because, miracles happen when you expect them!

Apparently “coping skills” was one of the classes I missed growing up; I have definitely had my rough days dealing with this. At times I can seem stoic, or give the impression that this situation does not bother me. This is far from the truth. This is the only way I know how to deal with this---maybe it isn’t the right way---but it is the only way I know. Simply put, I have to keep everything together right now. I cannot allow myself to break down over anything. This is not an option. I have been told by many people that sooner or later I am going to crack. OK, sure, they are probably right. However, slowing down, or taking time off of work won’t feed my babies. I will take time when the time is right, and right now is not the right time.

So, the latest information on my mom (again, language borrowed from my sister):

The time has come for my mom to get a G-tube (feeding tube). She has been having more difficulty swallowing, has been losing weight and her breathing capacity has dropped below 50%. She had the G-tube put in on March 6th at 2:30. The procedure took about 15 or 20 minutes. Mom will still be able to still eat normal food for pleasure but her main nutrients will come from the G-tube. She can even put her medicine in it. Unfortunately the tube is needed but fortunately she is going to get it and will keep mom stronger longer!

OK, on to my grandma (she will be 90 this year). After a LONG day at Cedars with my mom, my grandma returned home exhausted. While walking in the garage she tripped, fell, and broke her hip and her leg (this was the family emergency Cindy wrote about in an earlier post). She had to be rushed to the emergency room. She had surgery shortly after, and has made a fast recovery. Initially the doctors thought she would be in the hospital for a month or two, but it looks like she may be coming home this week. She is definitely a strong person!

To add to everything we are moving this month (as Cindy mentioned before). We found a nice house near-by and should be all moved in by the first of the month. I have been moving our stuff little by little each night after work in attempt to get everything I can (all non-essential items) over to the new place. I am trying to do as much as I can each day to make the final days of moving as easy as possible.

I will leave with some baby cuteness:

Sister and Zach

Feeding time. In order A, B, C.

My boys.

Chubby Jackson. Seriously, he is almost twice the size of Alexis! He is a bruiser.