Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mountains out of Molehills....

I have already had emails and calls asking me how my meeting with Bug's teacher's went. Thank you ALL for your concern, kind words, advice, and your tolerance with allowing me to vent my frustrations....even if they ARE kinda kooky! :)

O.k let's get to the meeting....

I went....and THIS is how the meeting began....

ha...ha

Brad had the day off (which was nice, so he could watch both the kids and I could talk with the teacher uninterrupted) so we both head over to the school about 3 o'clock with the little miss.

We walk into his classroom, and Mrs G. his "teachers helper/assistant" is the only one in there.

She looks at me all confused and says "I just put Bug on the bus".....

thinking she is joking I say "No, you didnt" and smile

She looks at me and says "yes I did...there was no note to hold him"

I looked at Brad then at her, and I say...."I understand that, where is Mrs H? I have a meeting with her and SHE told me she would hold him so he would be here when we arrived"

Mrs G looks at me and says "she didnt mention anything like that....so we put him on the bus home."

sidenote: thank goodness... here..if the parent isn't STANDING outside in the driveway....the bus driver's arent allowed to let the kids off the bus (I think this applies to grades K-3) instead taking them back to the school where they remain in an after school program until the parents are contacted.

"Where is Mrs H?" I ask...noting she is not in the room

"She will be here in about 10 min...she stepped out"

I look at Brad...tell him to please run and see if he can't catch the bus since I KNOW Bug will NOT be happy. We had made it a point to remind him over and over that he would NOT be taking the bus home that day. Brad leaves.

Mrs H walks in...

Mrs G catches her at the door and asks her about Bug.

She looked (appropriately) stricken.

And then explains that she had a mind slip, and even though Bug made it a point to tell her he wasn't supposed to get on, she had forgotten.

She apologized over and over.

Brad catches the bus....gets Bug off....all is well and safe.

NOT a good way to start off....but hey...this IS ME we are talking about.

Anyway....I sit down at a table with her and we start....

I have had time to settle down and get some GREAT advice from friends and family, so I am entering this with an open mind, and my feathers UNruffled.

She starts off by telling me Bug is doing EXCELLENT academically, and is such a sweet, sweet boy.

Then asks me how i responded to the note.

I am honest and I tell her....I had my cry, I grabbed my gun (joke by the way), I ranted, and then I asked for advice and realized how over the top I was making it.

She laughed, agreed, and said she is used to it. She HAS been doing this for 20 years at the SAME school, SAME grade...and is sooooo LOVED by all the students.

I explained how confused I was....with both the notes, and what they meant.

She said she was afraid of that and that was why she wanted to talk to me. She also reminded me I had told her in the beginning of the year to please come to me with any concerns they had.

I agreed 100% and told her that though NO parent wants a note home, I sincerly appreciated that she HAD noticed a change, informed me, and now we can work TOGETHER to find a solution.

Then she went on to explain WHAT the note meant. (boy, was I WAY off base)

She said he was doing great with everything except one area. And that it wasnt a big deal, but it could potentially become one if we don't address it.

Problem Solving.

He isnt thinking for himself.

She says its like he almost doesnt want to do something without you TELLING him to do it. Like he is afraid of failing.....or doing something wrong so he sits there and waits for you tell him what to do, where to go, and what to get.

<<>>

So THIS is where it becomes MY problem.

I need to allow him to be more independent.

I guess since he was a newborn I have always been there and done everything for him..NOT even realizing I was hindering him. Like when he needs a spoon for his yogurt...I get it. If he needs water....I get it. I do EVERYTHING. All I demand in return is manners. As long as he says "Mom, may I have....." I normally have no problem doing it.

I NEED TO STOP.

She suggested allowing him to sort the silverware as a chore, or the sock from the clean laundry.

She also suggested that I NOT stand there and watch him do it. To walk away.

Hmmmm....walk away? completely foreign to me. :) LOL

They have also had another student join their class since Christmas, and she said this has caused quite a disruption in a lot of the students....Bug included. But things are finally starting to settle in.

I asked her about his listening (since that is how i interpreted the note...that he wasn't listening) and she said he listens GREAT....ALL it is, is the problem solving.

In other words.....

He DIDN'T need to be punished in any way (bad mom of the year award goes to....me!)

She went on to say again, that he was a great student, and a very kind hearted little man, and that though she was worried that he may be too young in the beginning of the year...she has never seen a student grasp something so fast, the way he does. She thinks he is doing, and will do just fine.

<<>>

See? Thats what I get for wasting ALL that energy worrying....

AND....

MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bug's Award!!!

Bug had a kindergarten award ceremony this morning....

and he got the....

PRINCIPALS AWARD!!!




Gooooooooooo Bug!!!

It is an award they give to 2 students in each class, and it just measn that they have been good citizens. That they have gone above and beyond to help fellow students out!


Can we say P-R-O-U-D!!! :)



I also caught little MIss Drama Mama enjoying herself as each award was called! :)



I'll be back tomorrow to let you know how the teachers meeting went. Can we say confusing? First 2 notes home, and then an award ceremony!?!

I am still SO proud of him!!~

I am SO NOT looking forward to this meeting though.

*deep breaths in and out* *in and out*

Friday, January 25, 2008

Parenthood-the movie-Total Vent- Feel free to skip this one


Starring: me


please note: some names have been changed in order to protect the privacy of these parties! :)

I am so................


*stamps her foot*

*thrusts her fists in the air*

*clenches her teeth*

and tries VERY hard not to cry.



Last week, I got a note home from Bug's teacher saying:

Dear Kristi,
Just a note to share a concern about Bug. We have seen a signifigant slide in the quality of his work since the Christmas break. While he has performed well on his assessments, his independent working skills and and neatness has not been what we would hope for. He has also seemed quite distracted.
Journal writing has also been an issue. We have watched him just sit for long stretches of time, and not complete his journal. We have written a lot about the winter season and we thought his unfamiliarity with snow and cold weather might be contributing to his current struggle with writing, but I dont know that that is the case.
Please talk with Bug about the importance of completeing his journal in the morning and doing his best work every time. I will be sure that he is seated close to the front of the group at circle time and I will keep you posted about his progress....
Thanks!~the teacher.

So....I talk with Bug about how he needs to pay attention and do what he is asked. I also talk with him about how he needs to work hard and make sure his work is neat. I also decide to take away his precious 15 minute W*ii video game time that he gets with daddy right before he goes to bed. ...explaining that he needs to do well in school in order to get to have privledges at home.


I am confident at this point that the problem has been nipped in the bud.


As a side note: I am thinking at this point it is because I have slacked slightly in our daily routine of homework after dinner since the Christmas break. We (Brad and I) have started a "new members" class at church and on wed nights, this requires us to rearrange our schedules as far as dinner and the nightly routine go, and expand his 7:30 bedtime to a 9:00 one.

Not that this justifies his behavior any.


A second side note: as far as his "daily homework I do with him....we DO about 30 min extra work EACH night...between practicing handwriting, reading, sight words, and a fun math workbook....not to mention the homework he gets from school..which is about 4 pages ( we do 1 a night of those). He loves his homework time and often ASKS to do it before I say it's time.


Now I KNOW....one of the things I have said in the past, is about how I LOVE this school BECAUSE of the fact that it is rated top notch on the east coast, AND I loved the student/teacher ratio....AND the teachers really ARE awesome!


But then I get a second....far more confusing, note home yesterday....This one says:


Dear Kristi,

I wanted to let you know that Bug had a really difficult day today. He was very teary eyed and just could not 'get it together'.

I am concerned with Bug's lack of initiative in the area of problem solving. Since Christmas, we have noted that while his academics are on track with the other students, he has great difficulty thinking for himself and moving independently from one activity to another. Example: he ordered pepperoni pizza today for lunch. When we lined up for lunch I asked the children who ordered pizza to line up; they all did so except for Bug. Bug continued to sit on the carpet until I insrtucted him to line up. We have had quite a few instances like this. When we stand firm and expect him to think and work it out for himself, he becomes very upset and cries. We feel badly about this, but sometimes feel that it is a necessary thing in order to force him to think for himself and not wait to be rescued.

Our expectations for students are alway high, but I think they are fair and attainable. The expectations become higher during the latter part of the year as we look toward 1st grade. I want to see a greater independence as we move toward the goal of a well prepared first grader.

I would like to talk with you about his further and perhaps we could come up with some strategies to help Bug become a more proficient problem solver and independent worker.

Please let me know which afternoon would be good for you next week.

Thanks! ~the teacher


*stamps her foot again*


O.K. lets do the positives first:

I am GLAD she is kind enough to notify me of a concern early on so we can work together to resolve it.

I am GLAD she cares enough to offer me solutions instead of expecting ME to know what to do.

I am GLAD the ciriculum is so hard and that they expect so much from their students, I have seen Bug GROW so much these last few months.

I am GLAD Bug truly enjoys the teacher, and his school and talks for 10 min after he gets home from school, about what he did.


BUT: (and there is a big BUT)


he IS in kindergarten..

he IS in kindergarten..

he IS in kindergarten!!!


Have you ever seen the movie "Parenthood" with Ste*ve Mar*tin????
I feel like he did.
Here is a clip I found...not the one I wanted...but close enough...





I have a son that is over-emotional...
and a daughter who, in the past, HAS placed things on her head and ran into the wall.


And then to top it off, I get a report card as well yesterday with O's and S's.(outstanding and satisfactory) Plus a few +'s (indicating he is above and beyond his age group) And only 1 S-.(in independent work)

So MY thinking is....
He is doing well in school ACADEMICALLY....
He is NOT a disturbance in the class

So WHY is this a huge thing that he didnt line up....perhaps he didnt hear?! Or understand what you meant....I don't know.

All I know is that all was fine as he got off the bus and told me what a good day he had, and then I get this note...(which upsets me right away as a first reaction)tell him I have a note that says otherwise and he has a COMPLETE meltdown. He didnt even KNOW he had a bad day!?!?! How is this possible. I read him the note and ask him why he didn't line up.....he said "the pizza wasn't good" I don't get it. Did he DELIBERATLY ignore her. Or what?
So after the meltdown and realizing he had NO idea....I start to question my "punishment". Did he deserve it? He didnt do anything wrong, so to speak.

It all boils down to a parent/teacher meeting at 3 on Tues.

I dont want to go in there defensive, because I KNOW she is trying to help. So how do I get a handle on my emotions, and allow her to help??

Any suggestions?
I am trying not to read too much into this.....I mean...he is doing GREAT

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BUSTED!!

Boy oh boy do kids keep life interesting!~

Especially my 2 little monsters!

Here is a video taken yesterday.....the end is the kicker. I have NO idea where she got it from.... *blushes*........maybe Bug? :)

Anyway....all is well here...enjoy the video...




P.S Only 8 more "nite-nites" Popo and Papa!!

P.P.S HUGE CONGRATS TO APRIL ON THE BIRTH OF HER DAUGHTER WHITNEY!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Let it snow..let it snow...let it snow!~

We actually got snow!!! They say its pretty rare here...but holy moly did it come down! We had a blast..... as you can see below! :) The end is funniest....



Take care now ya hear!~

Saturday, January 19, 2008

LONG OVERDUE CHRISTMAS PIC'S



















I know, I know.....



but I forgot my camera in Virginia at my mother's house, and had to wait until their next visit to get it.


So...for Popo and Papa...


Here was our christmas!~ 2007



video


video

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The POWER of Prayer!

I have AWESOME news to share with everyone....but 1st I have to thank EVERYONE who was kind enough to send an email to Katie and Randy offering hope, love, and most of all support.

I have had the luck of having a wonderful person....Lauren P....post their story on a website we weren't even aware of....called the Road Back Foundation...and the response has been incredible. From letters of support...to offering new treatment options....to just allowing them to relate to others that are on the same path. THANK you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to do that.

NOW FOR THE GREAT NEWS!!!....

RANDY IS GOING TO DUKE!!~

A HUGE THANK YOU TO HILLARY CLINTON AND DR. SULLIVAN!!!

RANDY HAS BEEN ACCEPTED INTO A DUKE UNIVERSITY TREATMENT STUDY!!!

My cousin Tera had faxed, and called her office about getting involved.....and BLESS HER HEART....SHE DID!!!!!!!!!
Hillary Clinton contacted the insurance company to try and change their minds about accepting Randy, for studies on the disease he is fighting.
Thank you again Hillary.
and as for Dr. Sullivan (a Dr. from DUKE, who has been seeing Randy) he had also spoke to the insurance company pleading with them to change their minds!!
AND ALL THEIR WORK PAID OFF!!!
Thank you again Dr. Sullivan.

Randy and Katie (and Alec) now have to travel to Duke for the studies/treatment and will be there for approx 6 months. Please CONTINUE to lift them up in your daily thoughts and prayers. We pray that one of their "studies" will reveal a cure for this disease. Or at least offer him some relief.

So again, all my great friends, BBC friends, Road back foundations friends, and family.....thank you for your thoughts and prayers, and please continue to send them message of hope and support.
YOU ROCK!!~

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Check this DRAMA mama out!...

video

THIS is what I deal with!

She "practices" her faces! *sigh*

what can I do but laugh?
Lots of Prayers needed....

I haven't posted about this before, because it was a personal battle for my cousin Katie. However now, they are at the point where they NEED the help. If you have the time, I would appreciate you reading the below story in her own words....all I ask is your prayers....if you have the means to help finacially, that would be wonderful....but prayers are the STRONGEST thing you can give right now. Please know how much I/they appreciate them. From the bottom of my heart....THANK YOU!~

Here is her personal story:


“My Story”
By:
Kate (Munson) Duprey


It was Saint Patrick’s Day. I, of course, had made plan to be with my family and friends. I went to meet my family for a few drinks at a local bar and as the night went on our plan was to go to my favorite bar, Irises. There was a great band there that night called the Two Timers. As the night progressed I was having such a great time with my family that I ran over to tell some friends I was supposed to meet up with that I was going to be at Irises for the evening. At the same time my aunt being her observant self found that when I left a gentleman in the corner looked discouraged, the same gentleman I thought I noticed looking at me as I was trying to be the dancing queen that night.
I was sitting at a high top next to the band and I was recording my family dancing on my cell phone. The song Brown Eyed Girl was playing. As I was recording I commented to my self out loud, “my family is crazy.” The infamous gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey I think they are great.” We began to talk in between me dancing and my uncle, father, and father’s friend whom did I mention is a New York State Investigator were introducing themselves to this gentleman. By no means were these individuals trying to intimidate this poor guy.
The night came to an end and I left with my family after my mother forced me to give my number up to this gentleman. I was very unsure about this due to the face he was only 23 and graduated high school the same year I graduated college. With encouragement from my mother I gave my number out, which is not much like me. I walked home that night, but my family followed along side of me to make sure I got home safely. Once home I always brought my dog for a run, so off we went and yes I did run right by the same bar I left that gentleman at. He saw me and came out, but because I was unsure of him because of his age when he yelled my name I continued on, awful I know.
The next day I planned to go to Canada with some family members to pick up a puppy. Around noon time my cell phone rang and it was a Peru phone number. I couldn’t believe it, he was calling already. I didn’t answer it of course, but he did leave a message for me to give him a call when I get a chance. I said to myself, “yea right.” My aunt was telling me I should call him, but I replied, “He is too young.” As the days went on so did my curiosity about the infamous gentleman. With a talk from my good friend Katie Dyer, the investigators wife, I decided to give him a call back. We played phone tag for a while because he lived in a far away place from Plattsburgh, called Black Brook and there is no cell service. I refused to call his parents house, even though I did finally have to break down and do that.
Great first phone call too. I call and ask for Randy, the person on the other line says, “Which one?” What do I say? Oh yes I say, “The young one.” Great first impression for my now god send of a father-in-law. I did finally talk with Randy “the infamous gentleman.” We made plans for Friday night, but before we could finalize those plans I asked to meet for Coffee on Thursday. Always have a small short date before the big one just in case you need to back out of the big date if things are not going so well.
We met during my lunch break at Koffee Kat. I bought the coffees because I gave the invitation to go. We sat on the back couch and the hour went by very fast. We hit it off just like we did the night at Irises. We shared a lot about ourselves including careers, family, and hobbies. Randy had something else to share though. He mentioned that he had an autoimmune disease, called Scleroderma. He never tried to hide it from me. Second time meeting he told me that he was diagnosed with this disease. Which I knew something was different because when I shook hands with him at Irises his hands felt stiff. The way he explained Scleroderma was it affected the skin and joints. There is an inflammation time but after 3-5 years it goes in remission. Not too much else was said about it. Needless to say I did not back out of the next date.
Anyone that knows me knows I went right back to work and started to research Scleroderma. As I read I was thrown by how serious the disease really was. I didn’t know if Randy was minimizing the disease or just didn’t realize how significant the disease can be. What I did realize was he was in the early stages of the disease. There are different types and some are much more serious than others. At this point Randy was not diagnosed with the serious type. Most people the disease only affects the skin and some joints, but in more serious cases Scleroderma can affect organs and the whole body. When the organs are involved the disease is called Systematic Sclerosis. Even though I was curious must be the psychologist in me it was not my place to question him at this point.
The next day he picked me up and we went to Butcher Block for dinner. When we were looking over the menus he was wondering what I was going to have. That is when I mentioned I was a vegetarian, he thought to himself, “oh great I bring a vegetarian to a steak house.” Randy didn’t think he was going to get another date after that. Dinner was wonderful I of course found something to eat and the conversation was great. We went to Merons afterwards for a drink and then we extended the date even longer and went to a movie. When Randy dropped me off I was quick to tell him he didn’t have to walk me to the door. He didn’t think this gesture was a good sign. I was just trying to avoid the awkward end of the date moment plus it was late. I thanked him and walked myself in.
That was the beginning of us hanging out for the next 7 days and then those days turned into months. By July we booked a cruise together for September. That summer we rode motorcycles until late in the evening, went camping, and had a lot of great times just hanging out. August came and Randy needed to go in for some tests. We drove to Albany to meet with a doctor to go over the results. This is when our life turned. The Scleroderma had entered his lungs. This was not good. Having the disease in his organs brought this disease to another whole level, a much more serious level. We were shocked and so disappointed. Randy’s parents were with us and I remember the somber ride home like it was yesterday. No one talked much I could see the pain in both his parents eyes. I think everyone wanted to cry, but couldn’t do it in front of Randy because he was acting so strong.
At this point Randy was living with me and we had fallen in love. Yes quick, but we were sure that we were meant to be together. Randy didn’t let the news about the disease discourage him from making his move in life. In August a lot of things happened and decisions were made. Randy and I went to see his Scleroderma doctor and the doctors and Randy decided that he had to start Chemotherapy (Citoxan). The doctor was going to wait two months, so Randy and I could go to a cryobank because the Citoxan would cause infertility. We also wanted to wait until after our cruise so we could go and enjoy our trip.
September 2nd, 2006 Randy asked me to marry him. My response, a quick yes of course. We instantly planned our wedding for September 22nd, 2007, my Uncle Johns 40th Birthday. After we decided we were going to spend our lives together we had a huge thing on our mind. Children, we both wanted children and naturally. We did the cyrobanking, but we had 8 weeks to conceive naturally. We both sat our parents down and asked them for their support for us to try and have a child naturally in this 8 week window. The chance was less than 20% but we told ourselves if is meant to be it will happen. If not we are alright with that and will conceive through insemination later on in life. Our parents, families, and even our priest all supported us and stood by our decision.
September 21st 2006, we went on our cruise and had the time of our lives. It was so nice and relaxing. Randy started to go down hill a bit at this point. His energy was a bit down and his mobility had worsened, but he was still able to do everything independently. He needed to get a lot of rest. When we got back we realized we did not get pregnant that month and new we had one more chance next month.
October 29th 2006 was a day I will never forget. Randy had to start his chemotherapy November 2nd two days before his 24th birthday. It was a Sunday and I had told Randy I was not going to test until Halloween, my favorite holiday. This day was different though I woke up and I just new something was different. We were going to church and I got up and said, “I am going to test.” He just looked at me and rolled over to grab a few more minutes of sleep. We both didn’t think getting pregnant would ever happen. Well it didn’t take long for me to come barreling through the bedroom door. I threw the test at Randy and said, “WHAT DOES THAT SAY?” He quickly responded, “PREGNANT.” We couldn’t believe it. My phone rang and on the other end was my brother. He wanted to meet us for breakfast after church. I told brother, “I am pregnant.” He couldn’t believe it. He organized my parents meeting us for breakfast at Gumma’s so we could share the news.
Telling my parents, Randy’s parents, and family was an amazing feeling. Some of the faces and reactions were priceless. Making the decision to try and conceive was a well thought out decision for Randy and me because we are both traditional people and wanted to be married when we had children, but life deals us situations and we have to act on them. This was our time and having this baby was meant to be for us.
Randy started chemotherapy once a month in November. We also bought 15 acres of land and a new home to be built in March of 2007. Randy had high hopes and felt things were going our way. Over the course of the next few months Randy went down hill and his mobility worsened. Every test Randy had would have a bad result; nothing seemed to be going our way except my pregnancy which we were so blessed with. In December we decided to move in with my family. We needed some extra support and wanted to save money for the house to be built in March.
The holidays were nice and we spent a lot of time with family. Then February 2007 came along and another big turning point in our lives took place. Randy was feeling like he was a target at work. The inmates were watching and noticing his limitations and being a Target was making him nervous. Randy started missing more and more work as he received more Chemotherapy. I remember coming home one day in February and walking down to the bedroom. He was sitting on the bed with his head down crying. I looked at him and asked, “What is wrong”? This was a breaking point for Randy, he looked up at me and said, “I can’t do it, I can’t get ready for work. I can’t tie my boots or button my pants, it all hurts so much and I can’t reach my boots anymore.” That was the last day Randy had to call in to work; he was taken out of work February 6th. With the thoughtfulness of correction officers Randy had time donations for 7 months, and then took half pay for three months. January 3rd 2008 Randy resigned as a Correction Officer.
At the same time Randy was dealing with going out of work we had our 20 week sonogram. This was a very exciting event because we were going to find out what we were having a son or daughter. Neither one of us cared we just wanted to hear that he/she was healthy. The minute the nurse asked if we wanted to know the sex we both said, “YES!” She said, “You look and tell me what you think you are having.” There he was all boy and wanted us definitely to know that we were going to be having a son. It was a wonderful feeling knowing that we were going to be bringing this little boy into the world. More than anything we were ecstatic because he had a clear bill of health as per the sonogram showed he was a healthy little guy.
After Randy realized he could not work anymore we decided to look into other options that the Dr. Shapiro, Randy’s Scleroderma doctor in Albany told us about. Duke University was conducting some research studies that Dr. Shapiro wanted us to think about. We stated that we were interested and he set up a phone call between Duke and us. When we spoke to Duke the doctors wanted to see us down there as soon as we could get there. We planned a trip for the end of March. We flew to North Carolina and met all day with doctors at Duke University. The information we received was more than we have ever heard, and very devastating. Point blank Randy needed to get into one of the two studies Duke was offering. The doctors looked at us and said, “You have a 50% chance of surviving the next 3-5 years.” I remember walking outside and just leaning up against the stone wall of the Duke facility and crying. How could this be? I quickly turned myself around and new that all my energy had to be saved to get my fiancĂ© through this. My focus was getting him into the study. The study was called SCOTT, and this study was the first choice. The second option was a sibling study; Randy would need his only brother to be an identical genetic match. The odds were low but possible.
After weeks of tests doctors determined that Randy did not meet the criteria for the SCOTT study for two reasons. His lung function was way to low and he had received too much Citoxan. What a blow this was. We immediately said we need to get Kevin (Randy’s brother) tested. The test was $1000.00 but that didn’t matter. We ordered the test and Kevin went to have the blood drawn. We waited, and waited, finally we got the call. The call was from Angela Johns the woman at Duke that was working with us; she said to Randy and me, “You have one perfect brother.” Identical match couldn’t be any better. We were floored, that night we celebrated with family and were ready. Randy would be going to Duke for 3-5 months. At the same time the excitement was there we were scared to death. Questions like, what if something goes wrong, went through our minds. The other devastation is Randy would miss his son being born.
Now things should be going in the right direction you would think, right? Not for us. Our house was delayed because of a Valentines snow storm and the months to follow we were fighting tooth and nail with the insurance company. I was growing larger and more uncomfortable but continued to coach basketball for the extra income and coaching was my outlet. Randy grew more immobile and at times very sad. We had so much to look forward to, a new house, a wedding, and a baby, but the one thing holding us back was getting Randy into this research study. We were prepared for Randy to go to Duke in May 2007. This was the last straw; we went all the way to the external appeal board with the insurance company. I remember standing in the kitchen of my new home, which was filled with family painting for me. Randy happened to be out on a tractor playing around with his father who had to lift him onto the tractor so he could drive it around. We were expecting this phone call, so occupying ourselves was the healthy thing to do at that point. Well, my phone rang, it was the appeal board. I remember having about twenty eyes on me as the woman said on the other line, “we have reviewed your case and called in many experts, but your appeal was denied and cannot go any further than this.” I was crushed; I can feel the rush of emotions even as I type this many months later. I watched the life come right out of the family standing in front of me, as they watched the tears roll down my face. I looked at them and they new the answer was denied, and I just shook my head and said, “how do I go tell my husband this, how do I tell him his fate is being determined by an insurance company?”
I walked down the stairs and there he was happy as can be on top of that tractor. So proud he could be doing something outside and feeling as if he was being helpful. He saw my face and knew immediatley that the news was bad. I looked at him and shook my head no, because I could not even verbalize to him what I had heard. Randy’s mother was stating we will get a lawyer and fight this, for a while everything around me was just chaos. I had to stop this chaos. I just screamed, “Stop!” “Its not meant to be, Randy is meant to be here with me moving into our new home and watching his son be born.” I just felt fate had taken over and Randy was not meant to go into the study or else it would have worked out.
We refocused on enjoying the next couple month settling into our new home and awaiting the arrival of our son. We decided to not look into any further studies at this point. The first week of June we moved into our new home. Moving in was a very exciting event. We had a lot of help and support with moving because I was eight months pregnant and Randy was very limited. His energy level was poor and his mobility had worsened to the point where he needed a lot of assistance with doing daily activities. For the next three weeks we focused on getting things organized in the home. I also continued to coach AAU basketball up until June 23rd, when my midwife did not feel I should go to New Hampshire, the trip was to far away with my due date being July 12th.
The week of my brothers wedding came; the big wedding day was 07/07/07. Great day to get married. Randy and I were both in the wedding and looking forward to that special day with Dan and Shelley. Randy had not been feeling well at all and he was getting these spells where he would get very sweaty and feel like he was going to pass out. Friday July 6th we woke up to go over to help Dan and Shelley with wedding stuff. We were bringing bread dough to have for breakfast. What happened next was another big turning point and devastation for us. Randy started with one of his spells. I remember him leaning over the couch saying, “my heart is beating very fast, and I think I am going to pass out.” I called my brother and asked him to come over. I was getting Randy in his chair and my brother whom I think flew to our house walked in and with one look at Randy he said, “I am calling 9-1-1.” At this point Randy was not responding much to me and his eyes kept rolling in the back of his head. I started panicking; I was rubbing ice on his lips trying to get him to respond to me. As soon as he heard me panic, he came through and said, “babe just keep rubbing the ice I am going to be fine.” He just kept repeating that, do remember I am 9 months pregnant at this point.
The ambulance showed up and Randy’s heart rate was around 260. As the oxygen kicked in that the EMT’s gave Randy his heart rate started to go down and back to normal. By the time we left the house he was stabilized. We sat in the ER all day to be told that he was dehydrated and the dehydration caused his heart to race. We went home at 5pm and I had my brother’s rehearsal dinner. Randy insisted I go even though I didn’t want to leave him. I did get ready and leave him. I cried all the way to the rehearsal, feeling very torn on being there for my brother, but yet leaving behind my sick husband. Thoughts raced through my head that I would be doing the same tomorrow for the wedding day.
At the rehearsal I had to keep sitting down, not like me but I thought it was exhaustion from being in the ER all day. Up until now I had felt great. At Butcher Block, my aunt turned to my mother and said, “She is in labor.” I didn’t think so. I went home that night and told Randy I was not feeling that great I was going to get in the Jacuzzi. He was resting to try and feel better for the wedding. As the night went on I felt more and more crampy. I called my midwife and she told me what to watch for. I stated that I cannot be in labor my brother is getting married tomorrow. She reminded me that if I am in labor nothing not even a wedding is going to stop that. The last thing she told me was if I cannot sleep then I am in labor.
I laid and watched the clock tick by until about 2am, my husband slept beside me. Lets rewind a second on June 17th 2007 we got married, I have been saying husband and I should probably tell you why that is. It was father’s day and we wanted to be married when Alek came, plus we needed to work out some health insurance situations with Randy not working. We had a very sweet little ceremony with our priest and called it our first wedding. The second wedding is still planned for 9/22/07. At 2am I got back in the Jacuzzi. I timed my contractions, at this point I just admitted the fact that I was having contractions, but I timed them for 1 hour. At 3am I called to Randy and told him that my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart for a 1 hour. He said, “Its time baby lets go to the hospital.” I was unsure if I was ready to go yet. I called my mother, poor woman her son is getting married the next day and I call and wake her up from her beauty sleep. She thought it was a good idea to go up to the hospital to get checked out.
Randy insisted on driving me to the ER, even though he should not have. When we got there he was not doing well I could tell. On the way up to labor and delivery Randy started to have yet another spell. I was telling the women that he needed a wheelchair, but she would not let me out of mine. When we arrived to the room the nurse looked at me then looked at Randy and she said to Randy, “Are you alright?” I told her the situation and she took his heart rate and said, “You have to go to the ER.” This was great my husband’s heart rate was 275 this time and I was sitting there in the delivery room alone. Once he left the nurse checked me to see if I was in labor. I sure was, 3 centimeters and 100% effaced. I called my mother who was already up and showered and told her of the situation. She was already on her way to the hospital. My Aunt Pam also came to the hospital for extra support. My midwife who was a huge support system for Randy and I was suppose to deliver Alek. Unfortunately this was the only weekend in the whole 9 months that she was unavailable and in Albany. That I knew ahead of time, but of course with the way things were going for us we knew this would probably happen. The midwife that was there was amazing and stepped right in for my absent midwife.
Labor was not going so bad until about 6:03am when my water broke, and then things picked up. I remember the nurses saying we have to get Randy up here to be with her for the delivery. Finally, the ER let Randy come up because he was stabilized again, but there were no answers on what was going on with him. Labor became very difficult and with a lot of discussion I decided to get an epidural at 9:30am. I fell asleep and no one thought I was going to have this baby in time for the wedding. My mother had pictures at 12:30 her hair stylist came up to the hospital to do her hair for the wedding. I woke up at 11:00am; I felt a few urges to push. The midwife came in and said you are almost ready to start pushing at this point it was about 11:45am. As she walked out I said, “Oh no I need to push now.” She ran back in and 3 pushes 3 minutes later at 11:53am, Alek Edward Duprey was born. He made a grand entrance. He was healthy 7lbs 13 ½ ounces and 22 inches long. He was perfect and daddy got to see it all. Moments after he was born everyone was gone to the wedding except my in-laws and Katie Francis Castine (the godmother). It seemed so surreal that this all happened, I had 8 weeks to get pregnant and did it then I have my son on 07/07/07 the luckiest day for centuries.
Randy and I had a nice evening together with our son. People came to visit us, but the main event was when Dan and Shelley came up and saw us in their wedding attire to welcome their nephew into the world on their wedding day. Seeing my brother and now sister-in-law was so important to us, we missed them so much. Randy was still not feeling well at all. The next morning he got up to use the bathroom and things were not good. He went into another spell, this one was really bad. I was holding our son and watching my husband be taken out of the room by a team of doctors. I remember hearing the doctor say, “his heart rate is 280 we need to get him to the ER now.” I thought that was going to be the last time I saw him. When he left he was not responding to me and couldn’t say anything to me. I thought how can this be happening. Again I just sat there, alone. It was 8am and no one was there with me and it was the morning after my brothers wedding. I called my mother and asked her to please come up and then I called Randy’s parents to tell them of the news that Randy was back in the ER and not doing well. The nurses on the maternity floor were so amazing. They sat with me while I waited for my mother that morning and at night while I fed Alek. I do not know what I would have done without my night shift nurses, every feeding they would sit with me while Alek nursed.
That day is a blur. Randy ended up being stabilized down in the ER. The doctors finally decided to admit him to the hospital. It was such a difficult day. I had visitor after visitor and I just wanted my husband to be there with Alek and I. He was on the heart floor, which was connected by a secure door to my floor. After things settled down the nurses would sneak me through the door to go over and sit with Randy and have dinner together. They would call me when Alek was hungry or I had a visitor. Randy had not seen Alek all day. News Channel 5 made that happen. They wanted to do a story on us, the hospital allowed for Alek to leave the floor to go over and do the news segment, which in result allowed Randy to see his son. I didn’t even care about the news crew or being on the news I just wanted to get that baby in his father’s hands and that I did. The nurse wheeled Randy in and I just took the opportunity to get Alek in his fathers lap. As news channel 5 interviewed us it felt like know one else was in the room, but Randy, Alek, and I. We were sitting there as a family and that was all that mattered for those few moments. The separation was awful and I whispered in Randy’s ear, “you have to be strong right now; we need to be strong for Alek.” As they wheeled Randy away and Alek and I walked towards that secure door I felt empty. I could of asked myself all those pity party questions, Why me? How can this happen? But nope, I went back to my room and took the time to bond with my newborn. I focused all my energy on that little boy and told him, “as soon as we are discharged we are sneaking though that secure door and going to hang out with daddy until they kick us out”, which they never did.
I was discharged the next morning and those nurses knew where I was headed. It had been a whole day since Randy saw Alek. I went right for that door and those nurses snuck me right through. I walked into that room and seeing Randy was the proudest moment ever. People just stared as Randy and his son were brought back together. Unfortunately we had to leave daddy at the hospital that night to go home, but my mother stayed with me at the house for the next two nights while Randy was in the hospital. The next day we were right back up there though hanging out with daddy. Come to find out Randy was having an A-Flutter in his heart. He was scheduled to have a catheter ablation. After that procedure, Randy was monitored for 24 hours and was finally able to come home with us. He was a new man, no more spells and his energy was a lot better. His heart rate was around 90 beats per a minute which on good days before his heart rate was in the 130’s.
When Randy walked through the door I just wanted to lock it and turn our phones off and be alone. That we did. We laid in our bed and just bonded with that miracle boy and did not do much for a few days. I was off until October 1st at this point which I later moved to November 5th. We spent a wonderful summer together. Randy’s disease still progressed and his mobility was very poor, but we bought a lift recliner with some money that we got from the Classic Cruisers. They did a 50/50 for us, and Clinton Correctional facility did a Spaghetti dinner for us which helped buy things for Randy.
On September 22nd, 2007 just as planned I married Randy, for the second time, but this time in front of 200 family and friends. It was the perfect day, just as we wanted it. Randy was a trooper that day. At one point he was worried he was not going to be able to walk down the isle at our wedding, but that he did accompanied by our little man. Other than my son being born this was the happiest day of my life.
The fall went by and I went back to work. November 5th, I think I could declare that one of the worst days of my life. As I drove to work I cried my eyes out. How could I leave my family to be cared for by someone else as I go care for 6 families? I couldn’t put it into perspective, it was awful. Then I thought about it, my son gets to stay home with his father and grandfather all day. How is that a bad thing? He gets to stay in his jammies all day. I adjusted to going back to work within a couple of weeks and Alek is doing wonderful as is my father-in-law who we call our “manny.”
The holidays were wonderful and we enjoyed family, but here we stand. Randy is in constant pain, he doesn’t sleep well; he cannot care for Alek, and pretty much cannot care for himself. I am not one to ever ask for help because I am so fortunate with what I have. I would give it all up in a second for my husband’s health and even that probably wouldn’t cover the cost of the stem cell transplant he needs. We are looking into trying to go that route again, but insurance of course is not helping us. Randy is afraid by the end of winter he will be in a wheelchair. Our house is not equipped for this at all, because we never thought we would ever get to this point. Randy barely leaves the house because his mobility is so poor that his knees give out and he may fall and we do not have a garage for him to walk out into to get in a vehicle. Our life was put on hold to the point that we don’t even have grass or any landscaping because we just got in our house before Alek was born. Hard to do landscaping when your husband is ill and I was 8 months pregnant. Randy can barely get in and out of our stand up shower, he is always slipping and he can’t get in and out of the tub. His legs barely bend, his hands don’t move, and his body is just shutting down.
I try to make the best of what we have, but my husband’s life is being determined by insurance companies and that is what is killing me. Randy lays in bed and wonders if he will see Alek go to Kindergarten. I always reassure him that no matter what he will see everything that Alek does and will always be part of that little boys life. I need to get my husband better because time is ticking away and I am not sure how much longer he will be healthy enough to be part of these studies before things are just too bad. At this point we just enjoy every day and every moment. The worse things for Randy are the weekly ritual of filling his pill box with over 26 pills per a day. He hates having to do that, filling the pill box is just a reminder for him how sick he really is. Bathing is a very difficult task, getting dressed each day is something he can no longer do on his own, and the big task is keeping weight on. Randy has dropped 120 pounds in 20 months. It makes for a very busy day and a lot of creativity to bath, cloth, and feed your baby and then get him down for a nap or put him in the Johnny jump up and turn around and do the same for your husband. Alek is a God send and so patient when he see’s me helping his dad.
Randy is a trooper a lot of things are a struggle for him but he never complains. A lot of the hobbies Randy had he cannot do anymore. His buddies feel bad because they call him and are not sure what to talk about. They can’t talk about riding motorcycles or four wheelers because they don’t want to make Randy feel bad because he can’t do that. We had to sell our motorcycle. Then hunting, hard for them to call and tell him about that because he cannot hunt anymore. It becomes difficult and he feels isolated from the outside world a lot of the time. To fix Randy not being able to go out and do much I try on a regular basis to bring the entertainment into the home for Randy. I will call our cousins or some friends to come over and play Texas hold’em Randy’s favorite game to play.
Overall it has been an emotional roller coaster, but so many wonderful things have come into our lives. Randy and I just work through what ever comes our way. He has had pneumonia two times this winter, but continues to bounce back. We both know that if we can get through this we will get through anything. We get stared at when I am holding our son with one arm and pulling Randy up out of his chair with the other arm or when we pull into a handicap spot, but we just ignore it. The one thing that bothers my husband more than anything especially when I was pregnant is when he would be sitting in the truck and I was loading the groceries into the back of the truck. He thinks people were looking at him like he was a loser husband just sitting there letting his pregnant wife do all the work. It gets emotionally and mentally challenging but this is what God dealt us and someone special to me once told me, “God doesn’t deal you what you can not handle”, I say bring it on!!! Remember when I was talking about fate earlier? That one day we were denied going to the study and I said, “It is fate that Randy was not suppose to go.” I believe that because Randy would have been in the middle of a stem cell transplant when the heart complication happened and I am not sure he would have been strong enough to make it through that. Sometimes we need to accept what decisions are out of our control because in the end, fate usually works in our favor. Right now we feel fate is going to get us where ever it is to get Randy healthy and enjoying life again.

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THANK YOU AGAIN......
If you have any questions, or would like to send something (a letter of encouragement, a smile for her, donations, etc...)please contact me at lilpris77@hotmail.com ...and put in the subject "Katie" I PROMISE it will reach her and her family!!

I believe in miracles. Do you?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!

I hope this year brings many blessings to you and your families.

I hope you love more this year,

and

take the time to give back what you are so blessed to recieve.

See family you haven't seen,

or have been putting off seeing.

Live each day to it's fullest,

and go to bed with a smile on your face.

I know you can think of at least 3 things in your life to grin about.

I hope you find good health,

good fortune,

and lots of peace...

in 2008.

xoxoxo

Here's your first little smile......(got it in an email)

Dads
I took my dad to the mall the other day to buy some new shoes.
We decided to grab a bite at the food court.
I noticed he was watching a teenager sitting next to him.
The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors: green, red, orange, and blue.
My dad kept staring at him.
The teenager would look and find him staring every time.
When the teenager had enough, he sarcastically asked, 'What's the matter old man, never done anything wild n your life?
Knowing my Dad, I quickly swallowed my food so that I would not choke on his response; knowing he would have a good one.
And in classic style he did not bat an eye in his response, "Got drunk once and had sex with a peacock. I was just wondering if you were my son."

ar ar ar ar ar
Take care now ya'hear!