Cancer: Our Dog is Dying

Butch - Yorkie - Cancer DogOur dog is dying of cancer. It wrenches my inner-most soul to even admit that I know his days are numbered. A dog that I love more than most people. The dog that wasn’t meant to attach to me has been diagnosed with cancer, and his days are numbered. And, they are few.

My husband has joked to people that the healing I’ve sought for Butch, our beloved Yorkie, is far beyond what I would seek for him. I’ve spent hours researching all of our options for treatment and for comfort. Death is a horrible thing for any living creature, big or small.

Butch came to us nearly 5 years ago. Upon adopting him, we found out that he was positive for heartworms. The cost of treatment put us out of our comfort zone for spending. But, as we commented several times, we loved him … and we needed to save him. I can’t imagine if we had decided differently. The love of this dog (who, believe me, is sometimes also the biggest pest) has made a lasting mark on our family and on the memories of my two kids.

Butch has been THE perfect dog for our family. His personality is so low-key. He loves to sleep, and is content to do whatever. A ride in the car is like winning the lottery and a piece of cheese to snack on will make his life content for months.

Three weeks ago, we found out that Butch had a non-operable, cancerous tumor growing in the roof of his mouth. It is growing rapidly and goes from his palette to behind his eye. It is very aggressive and as we are seeing now, is beginning to deform the shape of his jaw and causes his left eye to slightly bulge.

A veterinary dental specialist is the one who initially advised us on Butch’s condition, and from there we sought the advice of a veterinary oncologist. She was able to give us several options: radiation – which would prolong his life by 6 months at best, be painful to the dog, require him to be hospitalized 5 days a week for weeks at a time, and cost $6,000 out of pocket; chemotherapy – which could get rid of the tumor entirely at best, but no guarantees, can have severe side-effects, could stay at home for treatment, and costs $200-300/month out of pocket for as long as we chose to do it; or we do nothing – and he has about 60 days to live.

Butch - Yorkie - Cancer DogWe chose to do chemo. So far, Butch has taken 3 doses of the 8 that we purchased. He has had no adverse side effects, although we can tell that he’s in some pain. Dogs that are in pain get very quiet and lose stamina. Butch no longer jumps on the recliner and often won’t stand on his two hind feet in excitement for cheese. We’re taking these signs to heart and offering him lots of tender love. We are heavy on making eye contact with him and speaking to him about how much we love him, and offering soft, gentle petting and cuddles.

We have also been using DoTerra Frankincense. Almost immediately, we noticed the bulging in his eye reduce. Frankincense is known to have cancer-curing properties and we figured we had nothing to lose in trying it. We’ve put a few drops on cheese and he’s never turned his nose to it!

Another visit to the veterinary oncologist will come in about 10 days. I’m assuming that she will do another scan to see if there is any shrinking of the tumor. At that point, I’m sure that we will access our course of action. As a family, we decided early on that we would not be selfish. Our ultimate goal was to make sure that Butch was as comfortable and as pain free as he could be. None of us want to speak of having to put him down, but even more than that – we don’t want to have Butch live in pain.

So, we pray and we will continue to pray for the healing of our Butch, and for our unselfishness in the decisions that are yet for us to make … now or in the future!

1 Timothy 4:4 “For everything God created is good, for it is sanctified by God’s word and prayer.”

To My Son on His First Day of Junior High

First day of Jr HighTo My Son on His First Day of Junior High,

I’ve dropped you in the depths of fire … no, not really. That’s how it seems to me. In reality, I’ve dropped you in the den of all things cool. No more walking you inside, or pictures of you sitting at your desk on the first day. Amazingly, I did fine with it all, but there are some things that I want you to remember today and for the next three years.

Your school is huge and over-crowded. Every personality and race and religion is represented. Every kid there is unique – yourself included. Guess what? That’s great. You are at such an advantage. I didn’t see this kind of diversity until college. Treat it as a gift and get to know people from all walks of life. Lots of things are expected, yet some things are taboo in different cultures. Learn from your friends and be respectful of those cultural differences when you are with them. It will be appreciated!

You are awesome. Some will love you and some will probably not. That’s ok, too. Stay true to yourself. Don’t change to fit in. Find friends that will embrace you for who you are. Those friends are the ones that will be your TRUE friends. Hang tight onto them!

Speaking of friends, grab as many as you can. But, realize that only a few will probably become close. Guard yourself against those that talk bad about others. Chances are good that they’ll talk bad about you too. Be nice, but make a mental note. Never, ever get caught up and speak negative of anyone. You don’t want that to happen to you, so honor that rule for others.

Try new things. Clubs, social activities, whatever you want. Try it and see how you like it. You might surprise yourself.

Jr high lockerNever give up something you love just to fit in. You love soccer. I’m thinking you’ll love band. If those things suddenly turn “uncool,” stay the course. It doesn’t matter what others think. I know that’s hard to swallow right now, but trust me – if you love it, stay all in. Few people find something that they are truly passionate about. Don’t sell yourself short to be cool in the eyes of another teen. You’ll have lots of regret.

Don’t ever be ashamed of being smart. Not all of us got the academic gene, but you did. You have an amazing gift and so much potential. Use every ounce of what you have. But, know that if you truly do your best and fall short, that’s ok too. Dust yourself off and get back up.

Relationships will begin to form all around you. Couples, and boyfriend/girlfriends, and romance everywhere. Go with the flow. You’ve had such awesome “girl (space) friends” throughout school … those relationships are valuable. When you are friends with someone first, you learn so much more about them. You’ve got the rest of your life to be in a relationship. I’m thankful that you have no interest now.

Ask questions! Teachers can’t help you if you are too embarrassed to ask. You are lucky to live in the digital age. If you can’t bring yourself to raise your hand, drop them an email. But, ASK! Your schedule is demanding and full. Don’t let your shy spirit get in the way.

More than anything else, remember that I love you. You have a pure and honest soul. But, you are going to screw up and make mistakes and disappoint yourself. In the next moment, you will have huge gains and highlights and triumphs. All of this is just a part of being in junior high. I will love you through all of your highs and lows. Regardless. I promise.

I’m so excited for you. 

I love you!


Moving Furniture: Super Sliders

Super Sliders to Move FurnitureMy body is aching. I feel like I’ve run 8 miles without training. Everything hurts.

In fact, everything hurts so bad that I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and gasped when I put my feet on the floor.

Two Tylenols later, I feel asleep again … making sure that I didn’t move an inch the rest of the night.

Every summer, my kids visit grandparents for several weeks. While they are gone, I go through all of their old clothes, toys, clutter so that they return to a nice organized space. I’m not doing this to belittle their ability to clean their own rooms. I’m doing this as a way to purge all the toys that they never play with, but if asked – it’s their absolute favorite. If toys/clothes/junk leaves while they are gone — they never miss it.

This year, the kids asked if I could rearrange their rooms, too. They have been stuck in the same mode for some time, so I was glad to honor that request.

What I didn’t bank on was that during the final 4 days of their vacation, I would be home alone. But, realistically, we’re talking about twin beds in each room, a nightstand, and desk (extra dresser in Piper’s room). Could it be that hard?

I tried to move the nightstand in Avery’s room and realized that I was in for more than I bargained for.

Super Sliders to Move FurnitureI went to Wal-Mart (ugh) for an item and decided I should look in the “As Seen on TV” aisle for those slippery furniture moving pads. I couldn’t remember for the life of me what they were called. I could only remember that in the commercial a slim looking gal was moving a huge armoire with one hand

I finally found them, and for the record – they are in the hardware section, not the “As Seen on TV” area. There was quite a selection, but I opted for the 12 pack with sliding pads that were about 3″ in diameter. I paid $12 for the pack of Super Sliders. If you know me, I don’t spend $12 on much of anything, so I was desperate! But, I figured – it was Wal-Mart, so if they didn’t work – I’d return them.

Avery has a train table in his room. “Has” is short for “going on Craigslist tonight.” Santa had it custom-made and it weighs 900 lbs. Maybe more. I figured I would start by trying the Super Sliders out on that piece since it’s the heaviest thing in the room.

I picked up each corner of the train table and slid a circular disc underneath. I finished with the fourth leg and gave the table a forceful push … and nearly shot it right out the door!

I could not believe how awesome these discs were and never dreamed they would work so well.

The only hard part – in all truth – was the bed. It’s just heavy in general. It was a chore to pick up the corner enough to slide a disc under. (We’re talking 1.5″ and you’re done.) I finally figured out a method: put my foot on the disc, lift the furniture corner with both hands, kick the disc under the corner!

Avery’s bed has drawers underneath so it’s solid to the ground all the way around. For that, I used a disc on all 4 corners and one on each side in the middle. I didn’t even empty the drawers to move it. It slid on that carpet like grease.

YouTube Preview Image

I should tell you here that there are Super Sliders for hardwood/tile,  Super Sliders for carpet, and the socks if you need both hardwood/tile AND carpet. Make sure you buy accordingly!

Is this a sponsored post? Nope. This was just a find that changed my life. I am someone who loves change and I would rearrange the furniture every month if Don would let me. Now, I can just take it upon myself! Yes!!!

*Affiliate links used for Super Sliders on Amazon Prime.



Tax-Free Weekend in Texas

tax free weekend, texasTax-free weekend in Texas for 2014 is August 8-10. This is a great time to stock up on items, specifically higher priced items.

But, here’s the fine print – you can only be tax-free on an item that is less than $100. So, for example, if you buy a pair of tennis shoes that are $103 – you will pay tax on all $103. If you bought a pair of shoes that were $99 – they are tax-free.

With backpacks, it has to be a traditional backpack that can be worn on your back. If you choose a backpack with wheels – it also has to have the straps for the back. It can’t be considered a briefcase or a computer bag.

We all know that school supplies make the list, but what are some of the other items?

The items on this list must be priced under $100 to qualify, so keep that in mind.

  • Diapers (cloth or disposible)
  • Children’s novelty costumes
  • Employee Uniforms
  • Leotards and tights
  • Scout uniforms

For a list of all things exempt, check out this great link by the Texas Comptroller.

Competition Dance Costs

Dance competition costsCompetition dance … why does this always bring up images of Abby Lee Miller?

The last time I wrote about financing competitive dance, Piper had just finished her first season. (Read that post first if you are brand new to this!) I meant to write again last year, but money is such a sensitive topic. Every time I put amounts down in black/white – I cringe. Perhaps it’s better that I waited, because a lot has happened between Year 2 and Year 3.

The biggest change for us was a change in studios. Many things led to our decision, but it was the right move for us on a lot of levels. And, now, one year later – oh my stars, we made the right move!

So, money … where are we now, what’s the same and what’s changed. First of all, I still track every penny. With that said, I can accurately account for how things have changed from year to year.

Our grand totals each year:

Year 1: $8,356.27 – 2 dances
Year 2: $13,565.75 – 5 dances
Year 3: $10,641.91 – 8 dances

For ease of comparison, I’ll call the studio we were at for years 1and 2, Studio A. Our studio for year 3 will be Studio B.

competition dance costsTUITION: This is a little different at our Studio B. Tuition covers your weekly technique classes. At Studio A, it covered your weekly technique classes and your mandatory competition dance choreography and cleanings. (So, basically, in year 1- we got classes, plus two dance choreography/cleanings in our $260/month. In year 2 – we got classes, plus three dance choreography/cleanings in our $260month.) 

At Studio B, our monthly tuition was $275/month. (That is raising to $300/month this coming year.) Piper took 11 classes each week and our tuition only covered those technique classes.

However, we are also offered the option of paying for the entire year in advance. We get a small discount when we take advantage of the offer. For our family, it’s a huge outpour of funds all at once, but it’s $300/month that we know is already paid. That comes in really handy when Christmas comes around, or an unexpected financial emergency arises.

Total for tuition (Year 2) = $2,717.50
Total for tuition (Year 3) = $2,500

CHOREOGRAPHY/CLEANING: The last time I wrote about this topic, we were only doing our mandatory dances. At Studio A, you paid a choreography fee for any “extra” dance – solo, group, duo/trio, etc. For example, we paid $350 for solo choreography, $134 for trio choreography, and $110 for a tap small group with 5 girls. 

competition dance costsAt Studio B, we pay a choreography fee for every dance. It’s nice for a few reasons. We are given the cost of each dance – a solo is $450, a duet is $550, small groups are $800, large groups are $1,000. The cost is split between the dancers in each group. For example, Piper could be cast in a group with 4 girls and our cost would be $200 for that number. But she could also be cast in a small group with 9 girls and it would be $88.89. 

Given those costs and the odds of what a “worst case scenario” could be, we are able to tell the director how many solos, duo/trios, groups we (1) think our daughter can handle and (2) our wallet can handle. 

At Studio A, for the dances that required a choreography fee, it was truly just that – choreography only. From there, you paid a “cleaning fee” every time that dance was cleaned ($35/half hour, $70/hour). This meant that I was constantly running into the studio waving cash … and needed to have odd increments of bills available at all times. It was C-R-A-Z-Y. Especially for someone (me) who HATES carrying cash. 

At Studio B, the cleaning fees for all group dances are included in the choreography cost. Thank you, Jesus! (I mean that literally.) It also means that although things are expensive on the front end, once it’s paid – it’s paid. 

Total for choreography/cleaning (Year 2) = $280 (one dance)
Total for choreography/cleaning (Year 3) = $680 (six dances)

SOLO/DUETS/TRIOS: This is another area that we hadn’t explored last time. In Year 2, we started with a solo and during spring break added a trio, so those costs might be a bit skewed. For Year 3, we did a solo and trio again.

Both Studio A and B do this the same way. You pay a choreography fee and then you pay for each cleaning separately. I think that’s industry standard. 

competition dance costsThese are the take aways that I have about a solo: A solo is worth every penny. The growth that comes from one-on-one time with your teacher is golden. 

There are many kids that do multiple solos. For us, financially, we would rather Piper be in more group dances than add another solo. When she’s older and if she still thinks that this is what she wants to REALLY do as a career, we’ll add another solo. But, for now, our choice is one solo and more groups.

Total for solo/cleanings (Year 2) = $1,155
Total for trio/cleanings (Year 2) = $333 (1/2 season)

Total for solo/cleanings (Year 3) = $1,380
Total for trio/cleanings (Year 3) = $478

COSTUMES: I now consider myself a costume expert. We’ve done catalog and custom-made, and semi-homemade (catalog, then alter it to look like something else!). I’ve also learned that a lot of what happens with a costume depends on your studio and what they consider standard. 

At Studio A, more was better. And more, and more. I love me some bling, but it was a lot! And many times the additions to the costume cost more than the basic costume. 

At Studio B, we have some gorgeous costumes, too. But, there was a bit more of a “Let’s try it like this … if we see it needs more, then we’ll add more. But, let’s not just do it because we can.” And, guess what? Many times, costumes were gorgeous “as is”. It made a difference in the bottom line.

My advice – learn to stone. Order stones wholesale. Both of these things will save you LOADS of money. And, some of the best Dance Mom moments I’ve had have come over a costume and a gross of crystals!

Total for costumes (Year 2) = $835.73 – 6 costumes
Total for costumes (Year 3) = $674.44 – 8 costumes

competition dance costsCOMPETITION FEES: Last time, I wrote about how surprised I was when the time came to pay fees for competitions. It was significantly more than I ever imagined. Well, that was with two dances … so imagine how numb I am now!

To be honest, groups aren’t much (in the grand scheme). They run $35-45 on average. Duo/trios will run approximately $60. Solos are about $100. 

The upside is that there is prize money. Whoo hooo! This is slightly different for each competition and sometimes depends on the number of entries in a category. It’s also an opportunity for studios to handle this in different ways.

Studio A – solo – the money is applied to your account; duo/trio/groups – the money is split and applied to your account. 

Studio B – solo – the money is applied to your account; duo/trio – the money is split and applied to your account; groups – the money goes to the studio.

Total for competitions (Year 2) = $1,262.82 (5 dances)
Total for competitions (Year 3) = $1,601.68 (8 dances)

CONVENTIONS: When I write you this time next year, I will be an expert in this field. Our studio is doing all conventions next year with the exception of one competition. (Even doing a convention nationals!) We did one convention this year and Piper loved it. For me, I love that there are scholarship opportunities and (in our case, at least) the teachers in the sessions are amazing. 

Of course, they are more expensive. For Piper’s age, we are looking at $225-260/per convention + competition fees. I’m thinking that it will add about $1,000 to our overall costs. We will have to weigh whether or not we stay in the convention hotel or drive back/forth from home for the local events. Staying in the hotel is another added cost, so we’ll play that one by ear.

competition dance costsATTIRE: With a change in studio, brought a new change in attire (logo jacket/pants). My best advice for this is “buy with room to grow”. I got two seasons out of Piper’s attire for Studio A, and I will get 2 years and possibly more out of Studio B. 

STUFF: I still love “the stuff” … the DVDs, the photos, the shirts, the programs … I’m a sucker. It’s probably worse because I’m such a memory keeper with scrapbooking and Project Life. But, I have learned when to pass it by and when to buy, but more often then not – I’ll buy. 

PACKING IT UP: I’m still in love with my Dream Duffel. You might recall from the last post that I had a small duffel. I’ve now graduated to a medium and could probably use a large! The Dream Duffel holds up so well and they’ve come out with so many accessories since my original posting specifically on them. I can’t recommend it enough. 

If you are new, my advice would be to buy the basics – the duffel, their hangers (they are worth the money), and their garment bags. Then, after your first competition, order the additional accessories that you wish you had. 

TRAVEL: This is always a biggie. Thankfully, we’ve gone to three nationals that are within driving distance for us. Next year, we will be flying. It’s still the single biggest expense of the year, but we’ve had such good experiences – I don’t regret it. If we did a nationals close to home, I’m not sure it would feel like nationals.

We’ve done condos alone, we’ve shared a house with friends, we’ve cooked in and eaten out … there are so many ways to try to make it cheaper, but in the end – you have to do what works for you. There are certainly pros and cons to every scenario. The bottom line is to plan early, budget, and make sure that you have all the information. (A huge key piece is “What day is my first dance?” If you are trying to pinch pennies, you might not want to show up on Saturday if you don’t dance until Thursday.)

No matter where we go or how we slice it, nationals for us is a $3,000 trip every year. And, probably $5,000 next year with flights.


competition dance costsSo, here we are three years later, still paying over $10k per year for a little girl to dance. Is it worth it? There aren’t enough “yes-es”. 

Piper has grown so much – 1,000% since we joined Studio B. She is independent, confident, and has a work ethic that most adults don’t have. She has never once complained about going to class or missing out. 

More than anything, we’ve seen a talent blossom in her. And as long as she wants to nurture that talent, then it’s my job to make sure that she can.

Will she dance forever, who knows? I hope so. Right now, she plans on it. But, because this investment goes beyond the dance studio, I’ve gotten my money’s worth if she quit tomorrow.

For our family, this amount doesn’t come easy. There’s a lot of sacrifice, and thankfully, my mom helps out each month. Don and I both work extra jobs … and Don works A LOT of long hours. But, when I see how happy Piper is when she’s dancing and how her face lights up the second her foot steps on the stage – I’d do it a thousand times over. And, a thousand times again.

Heavy Hearted

My heart is heavy today. I had another post lined up, but just couldn’t get my mind wrapped around it — so it will wait.

Two dear friends are grieving. One in the loss of a daughter. Another in the loss of a mother.

One is a mentor to me.

The other is someone that I hope I have in some way mentored.

Both losses make me feel like someone has punched me in the gut. I’m brokenhearted in their loss.

This was the heart scripture of Allyson … but it fits Patricia as well.

My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Until then, I’m resting on another verse from Psalm, chapter 30, verse 5 “Joy comes in the morning.” Thank you, Jesus for that promise.

Rest in peace, incredible ladies. This world will miss you.



Kim of Queens

Kim of QueensThank you, LifetimeTV for Kim of Queens. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I love a lot of things about life, but two of the top ranking things are pageants and reality TV. LifetimeTV has brought these two things together in a series: Kim of Queens.

Kim Hardee Gravel is a character. I’m pretty sure we would be instant best friends if we met in real life. Kim is a former Miss Georgia. (Miss America pageant system.) She is 100% southern and a straight-shooter. She has an impeccable sense of style and can see potential in even the most awkward teen girl.

Kim of Queens takes place at The Pageant Place, a one-stop pageant training paradise owned by Gravel. Girls that are clients of The Pageant Place are coached in interview, walk, presentation, wardrobe, and talent.

Kim GravelAssisted by her mother, Jo Hardee – a former Miss South Carolina contestant, and her sister, Allisyn Vararalla – another pageant veteran, Kim has her hands full. Jo is full of style and grace, she has a voice of real reason and is extremely grounded. Allisyn, on the other hand, is the life of the party. She is the polar opposite of Kim — in every way imaginable. I absolutely love Allisyn! I ache for the episodes that feature her.

Episodes of Kim of Queens showcase a different pageant or pageant prep session each week. You get to see Kim and her team in action in a big way. It’s a great mix of fabulous coaching, comedy in the prep, and a behind the scenes look at the pageant world. Kim’s words of wisdom and genuine love for making the girls that cross her path become more than just beauty queens is completely inspiring.

Don’t think for one minute that Kim Gravel is a one-trick pony. She also owns Hardee Girl cosmetics. From bronzing powder to lip gloss, Kim understands how to take someone from plain-Jane to super model. You will see the magic she produces as you watch the transformation of her clients on Kim of Queens. I would kill to sit in a chair and have her wave her wand of awesome across this ol’ face. Seriously.

So when can you watch Kim of Queens? It’s on Lifetime on Tuesday nights right after Dance Moms. (Hello, night of guilty pleasure television!) Tune in at 9:00 PM Central.

If, by chance, you have missed this gem … check out this clip:


Tonsil, Adenoid, and Turbinate Surgery

Tonsil Adenoid Turbinate SurgeryMy daughter just had tonsil, adenoid, and turbinate surgery. We counted down to the surgery date for 2 months, and as much as I thought I was prepared … I found out a mere 24 hours post-op that I wasn’t.

Piper, age 9, has always been healthy. She is extremely active and a ball of life. This fall, on separate occasions that happened within a few weeks of each other, teachers and friends mentioned Piper being a mouth-breather. I know that she has a nasal-y voice, but it’s always been that way – so I just c
ounted it as part of what made her cute. She’s always snored. Her dad snores louder than a freight train, so that was easy to pass off. Finally, I overheard her dance teacher tell Piper to “keep her mouth closed.” I got onto her after class about talking. She quickly let me know that she wasn’t talking, she literally had her mouth open … so she could breathe!

Upon further questioning, it became apparent that for the majority of the time and for most of her life, she hasn’t been able to breathe through her nose. Wow … what a revelation. I immediately asked for recommendations for an ENT via Facebook, and several people mentioned the same doctor. I wasted no time and called for an appointment.

At our initial appointment, the doctor did a scope to check the size of Piper’s turbinates. They were much larger than normal, so we were prescribed a nasal spray to see if this would help. We had a 6 week follow-up appointment and it was then that surgery was recommended: tonsil, adenoid, and turbinate surgery.

We were told that for the first 7 days, Piper would need to be out of school. For days 8-14, she would not be able to do any physical activity. Piper is on a competition dance team and she is right smack dab in the middle of her active season. Trying to find 2 weeks that she could sit out was a bit of a scheduling nightmare. (Yes, I completely realize that I’m working around a dance schedule to find time for a surgery, but in our house – that’s how it rolls.)

As luck would have it, it worked out that Piper could do a huge competition weekend, then have her surgery on the Tuesday following. She would miss that week of school and the next week was Spring Break! Perfect!

In the days leading up to surgery, she began to have some questions.  

1. Will I have an IV? I scoured the internet and found that for this surgery and with children, most often the kids are put to sleep with gas and then the IV is inserted (after they are asleep). This came true in our case. (And, no, it doesn’t hurt when they take it out.)

2. Can I take something with me into surgery? Piper was at a hospital, not a surgical center – not sure if that makes a difference or not, but Piper was allowed to take her favorite blanket and keep it with her the entire time. That thing is her lifeline. She is instantly comforted when it is near.

surgery-3cDay 1 – Surgery Day: The surgery took approximately 1 hour. Only 1 of us was able to go back with Piper to get her ready. I asked three different times for them to get Don and send him back, but that didn’t happen. If we had it to do again, I would be more firm that both parents go back. After surgery, two of us were able to visit Piper in the recovery room. My son, Avery, was quite concerned about Piper, so he and I went back. Once she was awake, the nurses had Avery assist with feeding her popsicle. Our doctor suggests that all children stay in recovery for 2 hours before being released to go home.

After we got home, Piper was very alert and chatty. Whispery-chatty, but certainly happy. She napped a bit on and off, but was happy just watching TV and hanging out. Initially, she could breathe through her nose perfectly, but as it began to swell – she wasn’t able to any longer.

Pain was completely under control  for approximately 16 hours …. until 2:00 AM. When I gave her her pain meds at 2:00 AM, she nearly came unglued. She literally jumped from her seat. The pain had most definitely set in and the IV meds were gone.

Day 2 – Pain was certainly at a much higher level today. We gave the oral pain medication around the clock every 4 hours. Because of the turbinate surgery, we had Piper stay in the recliner. She napped on and off for the majority of this time. She would sip on ice water and ate about 1/4 of a popsicle.

Post OpDay 3 – This day was much like Day 2. She was awake a bit more, but pretty much a carbon copy. We still kept the oral pain medication going every 4 hours around the clock. On this day, some nasal drainage began. It wasn’t so significant that she was forced to wear the nose/gauze contraption, but enough that she went through an entire box of tissues. Piper managed to eat about 1/2 a popsicle and about 1/2 a cup of ice water on Day 3. A bad mouth odor set in today. (I was warned of this by another mom.) I had suggested that Piper swish out her mouth with water and just run a toothbrush over her braces. While swishing with water, Piper fainted. It was an extremely scary moment. I debated on taking her to the ER, but opted to first call the doctor-on-call. The doctor felt that she was just weak from her lack of food and was showing the signs of dehydration. We gave her Gatorade to bring her blood sugar level up. The stress that this brought to her body made for a long night’s sleep.

Day 4 – Piper was still very tired today. I spread her pain medications out to every 6 hours instead of every 4 hours after she complained that it tasted terrible and just overall made her feel bad. Later on day 4, we stopped the pain medicine. Piper said she didn’t need it any more. This day was a full day of rest and trying to promote a lot of liquids to fight off dehydration. She had periods of hot flashes that seemed to be eased with a wet washcloth on her head. The very tip of Piper’s nose is bruised from the turbinate surgery and she has a lot of clear drainage. The doctor said that she shouldn’t blow her nose, and she complains that the contraption that hooks behind her ears to hold the gauze on is aggravating. With that, she prefers to just wipe with a tissue. She says that her nose isn’t sore at all. If your child goes this route, be prepared … she went through about a box per day.

Day 5 – We focused a lot on day 5 on eating to try and build strength. Piper was still very weak and her appetite was non-existent. In the evening, she perked up quite a bit and actually sat up on the couch and played cards. It was nice to see a sweet smile and see her playing. She took no pain medication at all on day 5. The mouth odor was really bad and in looking in her throat, you could see that the wounds were healing.

Day 6 – Piper still isn’t eating – at all, to be completely honest. It was a somewhat yucky day outside, but we thought that it might do Piper a bit of good to get out of the house. We decided to take her to the movie. Her dad carried her in and out. She enjoyed the movie and stayed awake the entire time (a feat that she seldom meets when she’s healthy). Once we were home, she managed a board game at the kitchen table and drank about 1/3 of a slushie from Sonic.

Day 7 – We were back at the doctor’s office for a 9:00 AM post-op appointment. We got some good news and some bad news. Good news: Everything is healing perfectly. Bad news: She’s lost 11.4 pounds. For Piper, that’s roughly 20% of her body weight. Ugh. We were charged with getting her to eat. She had also developed a cough and were given the freedom to treat her with an OTC medication – as long as it didn’t contain Ibuprofen. As for her nose/drainage, it seems to be less. Piper says that she still can’t breathe through her nose because it’s swollen on the inside, but she’s not in pain.

Post-Op 2Day 8 – Still no food. We’ve finally had to warn Piper that if she doesn’t begin to eat, she won’t be able to return to dance next week. Cue the waterworks. After much begging, she did eat 1/2 cup of an Oreo McFlurrie. Today, I’m happy for that – we’ll worry about nutrition tomorrow. (PS – This was the day that Piper technically should have returned to school. There’s no way that could have happened.)

Day 9 – On this day, we turned a corner. Piper knew that she had to eat in order to return to dance. For her, that’s all the motivation she needed. I honestly think that she just needed to get something in her stomach in order to trigger the urge/need to eat again. At the end of the day, she had eaten 2 pieces of french toast, about 1/4 cup of yogurt, and a bowl of pasta with alfredo sauce.  She also drank 32 oz of Gatorade at the recommendation of a pediatrician friend.

Day 10 – This is the first day that I think Piper could have realistically returned to school. (We are on Spring Break!) She ate pretty regularly all day. Still moderately soft foods, but she was definitely more her “old” self. We, again, made sure that she drank all 32 oz of Gatorade. (For the record, my friend said to use “real” Gatorade for this purpose, not G2.) We went out for dinner and she felt like playing with friends. I weighed her and she had not gained any weight back, but she hadn’t lost any additional weight either — so I was pleased. She is able to slightly breathe through her nose. I’m hoping for this portion of her recovery to speed up!


Buying in Bulk

Buying BulkDo you buy in bulk? Maybe you think you should …

Costco has just hit my section of town and all of a sudden, the world is abuzz with bulk buying.

Here are my three hints on bulk buying:

1. When buying in bulk, always find out the per item price. Whip out the calculator on your smartphone and do some quick division. If a 20 pack of paper towels is $6.00, decide if 30-cents/roll sounds right to you! Sometimes when you find the per item price, it makes the decision to buy (or not) very easy.

2. Where are you going to put all the stuff when you get it home? It’s easy to buy a full basket of items and never consider where you will store everything until you get home and can’t find a spot!

3. If you are buying a food item in bulk, look at the expiration date! Be realistic about whether or not you can eat that amount of food before the expiration date. If you can’t, then you’ve only thrown your money away.

… and remember, there’s no cents in paying full price! Stack those coupons!

* This post is part of a weekly segment on KSBJ Christian Radio. For more on segments featuring Stephanie Click, the Texas Money Mom, click here.