Friday, June 29, 2007

Anniversary wishes

Happy 44th anniversary,
Dad & Mom McKee.
We love you!

Life according to a five year old

David has been full of interesting viewpoints lately...the other day he asked me (very seriously) if Superman wears underwear. Yesterday he was telling me about someday when he would have a baby growing in his belly (pregnancy is a captivating subject for him lately, I think because two of his friends' moms are pregnant). I listened for a minute and then gently interjected that babies only grow in mommies' bellies, not guys' bellies. He gave me a look like he was the superior being of knowledge and I was just a know-nothing , and then indignantly informed me that SOMEDAY he would grow a baby in his belly, because he knew about it and he could. I decided not to pursue the subject, because it wouldn't take much to dig us much deeper than I want to go with him quite yet!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The game plan for Bruce

There is so much information from today's cardiology visit that it's hard to sum it up succinctly, but I'll try... On July 18th, Bruce is going to have an Amplatzer device installed via heart catheterization. The hole between his atria is just under an inch long (!) but in a good place for device closure. The potential complication for him is after the device placement -- after the hole is closed and the right ventricle (RV) is once again required to pump sufficiently -- since that side of his heart is enlarged and weakened, the RV may have some difficulty. The doctor feels that this is a significant risk, so they will be watching him very closely in case they need to assist his heart a bit. The doctor confirmed that the ventricular enlargement will likely resolve after the device correction; however, it is not very likely that the right atrium will reduce in size, which will mean that Bruce will still be at risk for AF, etc. Right now, though, we are excited to have a game plan and a surgery date! Bruce continues to battle severe fatigue (though we found out today that the fatigue is due in large part to the medication he's on, and there's nothing they can do to relieve that...). Thank you for continuing to pray for him/us!

Our ninth anniversary


Today is our ninth anniversary.

In some ways, it seems like the time has flown by...
and in other ways, it seems like nine years
could not possibly encompass everything
that has transpired in our lives!

We are so blessed and I am so grateful
for this wonderful man
that God delivered to my doorstep...
I truly could not imagine a man
more perfectly suited to be my other half.
~
Thank you, Hon,
for being my wonderful husband...
for sharing all of the joys and sorrows
that have come to us...
and for all of the laughter
that you bring into my life.

I love you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've been tagged...

...by Liz! This is the first time I have been tagged in the blogging world, so I guess it is a momentous occasion. Either that, or it just means that I am FINALLY starting to get some more people I know who are blogging as well. :-) To those of you my friends who read my blog but do not yet have one of your own -- I am very glad you visit me! -- but get started, especially if you have little ones that we'd all like to see! But I digress from the main point of this blog, which is to respond to my "tag", which is as follows: I am supposed to name my five favorite local restaurants here in metro-Atlanta, Georgia, and then tag five more people to name theirs. However, due to how little we eat out and the limited number of blogging friends I have, I am going to name/tag two! #1 - Rainwater Restaurant is my hands-down favorite. The atmosphere is great and the food is exquisite. I consider it a 'fancy' restaurant (i.e. it is rather expensive but well worth what you pay, and you get to use real table etiquette), so we don't go often -- usually just for our anniversary and on our planning weekend. I love their house salad, really like their roast duck, their macaroni and bleu cheese is amazing, and their breads are great, too. And for dessert, their fresh fruit and lemon curd tart is so good... #2 - Bobby G's is the only authentic Chicago-style food that we have tasted outside of Chicago. Bruce always has the Italian Beef with Hot Giardiniera Peppers and I always have the Vienna Beef hotdog with mayo and a dill pickle in the bun, just like we always did on Friday nights in Chicago. The food is authentic enough to make us really miss Chicago and everyone there whenever we eat here! I tag Deb and, in an effort to coerce her into blogging again, Jessica!

David and his garden

The garden is flourishing -- David is standing in front of the tomatoes to show how tall they are. We are starting to harvest cucumbers, and the beans' first harvest wil be ready sometime in this next week. The kids love to "hide" in between the corn rows -- it reminds me of my brothers and me hiding the in corn when we were growing up, except that we had acres' worth to truly hide in, not just a few rows...but our kids don't know what they're missing and they're thrilled with our few rows! We all enjoy our garden...

"She's beautiful!"

Last night we gave Abigail a special new doll that has hearing aids and glasses just like Abigail. The look of wonder on Abigail's face, when she saw a doll just like her, was incredible. After staring in awe for a minute,
Abigail declared,"She's beautiful!"

Yes, daughter, she is so very beautiful...!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

MIA friend!

Liz V. -- if you read this,
would you please email me at bruceandmarsel@alltel.net ?
My apologies to all for this corny APB,
but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another long day behind us

We went to Greenville today for Abigail's post-CIMT evaluation, which went well. The difference between her pre-CIMT session and today's session -- that is, the amount of progress she has made -- was astounding. We are utterly tired, as you can imagine -- to Greenville and back between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. -- but glad to have this chapter closed for now. It was sad to say goodbye and walk out of there, though -- saying "thank you" just didn't seem sufficient for the help they gave Abigail. I walked out and felt incredulous that no one in the "outside world" knew what incredible things had transpired there, and felt like I needed to tell everyone! Bruce is battling serious fatigue etc, and his cardio. appt has been moved up to this coming Wednesday (June 27th) as a result. I want them to take care of him right this minute, but they didn't ask me. :-) One of my nephews (Bruce's brother Chris's two year old) broke his foot yesterday (on a side note, his little blue cast looks adorable). As a friend of Chris's family remarked lately, it has not been a very good month to be a McKee!!!
"The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness."
~Lamentations 3:22, 23

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Our baby girl is growing up so fast!

Abigail is going through one of those growth spurts -- both physically and mentally -- where it seems like every day she wakes up having grown up a whole month's worth!

I was planning to start potty-training next week (AFTER our day-trip to Greenville!) but this past Monday, she told me she wanted to wear undies and go on the big girl potty -- and that was that. It seems too simple to be true...but the diapers are all packed away and she has been accident-free ever since. For more than five years now I have always had at least one little one in diapers...but now we are a diaperless household...sigh...how do they grow up so fast?!
Note the left hand reach and grab in these two pictures -- wow!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Father's Day

...a little late!
Here are my two sweeties with their daddy.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

And Bruce's diagnosis is...

ASD -- Atrial Septal Defect -- i.e. a hole between the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. This is the same defect that Abigail had -- at the time hers was diagnosed (and corrected), we were not aware that there was a family history of ASD...but now we know!

This diagnosis is great news in the scheme of things and we are praising the Lord for a problem that can be corrected...and without a heart/lung transplant! We have an appointment on July 3rd to meet with the cardiologist who specializes in this kind of thing -- he will make the determination of whether they can close the hole with a device (via heart catheterization -- the way Abigail had it done) or whether it will require open heart surgery.

An incredible piece of news is that the doctor thinks that once the hole is closed, there is a good possibility that the heart may return – at least somewhat – to its normal size. This was a wonderful surprise to us, since everything we had read indicated that once the enlargement occurred, there was no reversing it. It will take some time, but it is a bonus and we’re thrilled by it and grateful for it!

I am SO GRATEFUL for this diagnosis and, although I know that there are no guarantees of a tomorrow for any of us, I feel as though I've been given back my husband.

Here's to 90 more years together, Hon! I love you!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We're getting there

My crew has arrived home safe and sound -- now to get my mom and Abigail home safely tomorrow after therapy and then I will be grateful to have our nest fully repopulated! Bruce's procedure is tomorrow -- I'll post results as soon as I can.

Daily report 6/14/07

Today is the big switch -- I am feeling torn about leaving Abigail here even though I know she will be in very good hands. :-) However, I am looking forward to seeing my other baby, though he may not be as impressed with having Mommy back after two fun weeks with Grandma all to himself! Abigail continues to thrive and make great progress with this therapy. There is a marked difference in the ease of use and coordination of movement in that left hand. It has not been easy -- for any of us -- for Abigail and me to be away these two weeks, but it has certainly been well worth it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Interesting info about TEE

For those of you who would like to read more about the procedure Bruce is having done on Friday, click here. If you would rather be blissfully ignorant than to know all of the details, please don't read it! It tells all. :-)

Daily report 6/13/07

Abigail had a great night of sleep last night and is back at it today. She is by herself this morning and will thoroughly enjoy the one-on-one attention. Yesterday she was throwing beanbags into a net and her left-handed release was beautiful!!! She was actually splaying the hand to release the beanbag while her arm was still in the throwing motion. Again, those of you who have not seen her struggle just do not realize what an incredible achievement this is...so just trust me..it's amazing! We got a date for Bruce's TEE -- it will be this Friday at 11 a.m. So my Dad drives back to GA (from FL) today; he, my mom, and David will drive up here tomorrow morning so that I can show the ropes to my mom, then tomorrow night I will ride back with my dad and David so that I can be with Bruce for his procedure, and my mom will stay here with Abigail for the last day of therapy. We always aim to make things as exciting as possible!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Daily report 6/12/07

We had a great time at Joe & Lisa's last night. Abigail had a blast playing with her cousins and it was really nice to see Lisa upright and alert! We had to pay the piper this morning, though -- Abigail is overtired and grumpy. I will have to be careful to get her to bed early the rest of the week! Fortunately, she was still happy about coming to therapy -- it was (literally) the only thing that gave her a smile this morning. We finally got results on Bruce's MRI -- they think that there may be a defect in his septum (the part that divides the two sides of the heart). They are next going to do a transesophageal echocardiogram (as in, going down his throat to look at his heart -- doesn't that sound like fun?!) to see if they can pinpoint the issue. Today we are supposed to get a date for that. Even if this is the problem, we still don't really have any more info as far as prognosis or treatment yet -- it could still be anything from a device-closure to a transplant. So we have taken only one tiny step forward on the road to diagnosis! Patience is not my favorite virtue...

Happy birthday, Alicia!

Happy 9th birthday, Alicia!
Hope you have a great birthday.
We love you and miss you!
(Sorry I can't post any pictures,
but I'm not at my home computer...)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Daily report 6/11/07

We're back in Greenville...it was wonderful to be home and see everyone this past weekend, but it was REALLY HARD to leave again. Abigail was wailing for David and Daddy and Grandma...thankfully, once we got down the road and I offered her some juice and her Mary Poppins video, she was happy again. :-) She is doing well again today. The other child in the program is feeling better and back with us this week, so Abigail is a little bit less dynamic, but still doing fine. Tonight we are going to visit Joe, Lisa, and family, so it will be nice to see them and a nice break from our routine besides. I spoke with the cardio.'s office about Bruce's MRI results -- apparently the dr. was out of the office all of last week, which is what has caused the delay (it would have been nice if the girl I talked to last week had told me that instead of hedging!). We are supposed to get results and a game plan tomorrow, and we are more than ready.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A good cause

Just wanted to make you all aware of a good cause that we are donating towards...we are donating in memory of Bruce's friend Jamal, who died of leukemia in 1993. RaDora (our audiologist...and part of our family!) is going to Alaska later this month to run in a fundraising marathon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Click here to see more details and/or to donate. Thank you!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Daily report 6/8/07

Hooray -- we go home today! Abigail has now started to ask "What's David doing?" She can't seem to grasp the fact that his life goes on normally when she is not there to share in it. I was sorely tempted to tell her this morning (after she had asked that question three or four times) that we would be going home today, but since her concept of time is still immature, I didn't want to risk distracting her from therapy all day long, so I am saving the surprise until we get in the car to leave. But I am excited enough for both of us! Therapy went well again yesterday -- we had two BIG accomplishments -- Abigail used her left hand to do a zipper, and she has perfected an almost-pincer grasp with that hand as well. WOW! We were all so excited. Midway through her last session of the day, though, she crawled into the play-tunnel, rolled onto her back, and announced, "I tired. I go to bed now." And by 6:45 last night, she was already asleep and dreaming! This sure has been a week of hard work for her and I am glad for a little respite tomorrow...hopefully we will have good pool-weather! They do not allow cameras in the hospital, but while we're home I will try to take a picture of Abigail showing off that left hand and wearing her puppet.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Daily report 6/7/07

Here we are in the surreal world of daily therapy -- it feels like we have slipped into twilight zone and the rest of the world has disappeared! Abigail continues to do well, although she is showing the beginnings of fatigue. It's an awful lot of work to put her body (and brain!) through every day. This morning on the way to the hospital, she asked me, "Where's David?" We are both missing the rest of our family! Nevertheless, she was excited to come back and play with her puppet this morning. The other child who is in the program with her has missed the last couple of days due to health trouble, and although I'm very sorry for him to miss out, it has been a bit of a blessing in disguise for Abigail, as she tends to thrive on a more peaceful, one-on-one type of environment. So far, so good!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Just for the fun of it!

I would never have taken the time to do this in my 'normal' life, but the computer was free with no one in line this afternoon, so I have browsed in a very leisurely manner...I saw this quiz on someone else's blog, and since I love the Jane Austen books, thought I would try it...
I am Elinor Dashwood! Take the Quiz here!
It makes sense, I suppose...my mother says that I have long been older than my years, I am more of a mother hen than a carefree fun-seeker, etc. I always identify with Elinor when I watch Sense & Sensibility (my all-time favorite movie, by the way -- I bawl every time and I've seen it dozens of times!), except that I tend to be a bit more demonstrative with my emotions than she is.
Makes me want to go home and dig out my Austen books yet again!
Disclaimer: I am not at all familiar with the website that hosts this quiz, so please do not take this as an endorsement of the website or anything on it. Thanks!

Daily report 6/6/07

Therapy continues to go well. Abigail is completely comfortable keeping her good hand restrained all day and is still eager to go see her puppet every morning. I am thoroughly enjoying the rare opportunity to sit, relax, read, knit, nap, etc -- such a contrast to our typical schedule of appointments almost every day. I have also been going to sleep early in the evening and then waking up on my own shortly after six each morning -- that's my body's normal rhythm but not one that I can usually accomodate...it's been great! We got great news yesterday regarding David's MRI -- the lump on his back is just a fatty tumor resulting from an injury...nothing scary, and nothing that is going to require any further medical intervention. Praise the Lord! David is having such a fun time having Grandma Minota all to himself that he hardly has time to talk to me on the phone. He usually gets all sad and quivery talking to me when I am away, but I guess he is growing up...now I feel sad and quivery, but he's rushing to get rid of the phone so that he can get back to having fun! :-) Although I miss everyone, I am grateful for this special time for my mom and my son to share together. Still waiting on Bruce's MRI results. Hopefully we will get something today.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I am not cut off!

Oh, glory be -- I am not entirely cut off from the Internet! :-) The hospital has a computer available for the parents...granted, it is dial-up and you have to hover like a buzzard in order to jump in and claim a turn, but it is a connection nonetheless and I am grateful for it!!! Abigail's first day of therapy went really well -- she wasn't at all upset by the new surroundings and new people and seemed to adapt well to the physical demands of the day. She wasn't frustrated by the constraint of her good hand, either -- in fact, soon after she woke up this morning, she asked if she could go play with her puppet! (they use a puppet on the 'good' hand all day long to force constant use of the affected hand) This good-hand constraint can be very upsetting to some kids, but it didn't faze her in the least. It made me grateful for the "use left hand" refrain we have fired at her constantly over the last two years -- since left hand use is a familiar concept to her, it has made this therapy much less overwhelming for her. I will try to post a quick report every day while we are here -- there probably won't be much that is earth-shattering, but at least you all can share in this experience with us to some degree.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Two weeks of therapy

Today Abigail and I leave for Greenville for the first week of her CIMT. The program begins first thing tomorrow morning. I will be computerless, so I will not post anything until I get home (Friday night), unless I can find a business center at the hospital or hotel. And we're off!

Friday, June 01, 2007

MRIs, stomach bugs...oh what fun

Bruce had his cardiac MRI this morning. We won't get results until next week. Bruce, my mother-in-law, and I all woke up with a stomach bug this morning, and it's a brutal one. We are praying that Abigail doesn't come down with it for our trip! My in-laws head North tomorrow and my parents will arrive here. I am planning to wake up feeling great...doesn't that sound like a good plan?!