Sunday, October 24, 2010

I wanted to share this

My friend Cathy, whose cousin Laurie recommended the new headache Dr. to me, sent me this video. In my previous post, I mentioned option 2 (if the nerve blocks don't work), which is surgery. Apparently, my AMAZING Dr. is the one who came up with this surgery!!! Check it out :)

I go in Tuesday the 26th for the nerve blocks, please pray!

Thanks for checking in!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Dentists and Doctors and Pictures, oh my! (Now with update)

Hi everyone :) Not sure if there is anyone even still out there in blog-land who reads my blog since I neglect it so much, but it's ok :) I have several things to update, so hold on to your seats, everyone!

I went back over a year ago in my posts, searching to see if I had posted about Raia's dentist visit in February (I think?), but apparently I had not posted about it, so , I will start from the beginning (for those of you who don't know).

Let this be a lesson for any new Moms out there, please let my mistake be a learning tool: Sometime at the beginning of this year (Jan? Feb? Can't remember) I took Raia to a dentist that I had heard lots of good things about. From the time Raia was born until she had several teeth in her mouth, I would scrub her teeth with a washcloth or the finger brush and infant toothpaste. Then, she learned to bite, and bite HARD. So I got her a toothbrush, a nice fancy electric one that I let her pick out, small enough to fit in her mouth (plus another manual one) to make for easy brushing...or so I though. I'm not sure what went wrong, but she eventually started refusing to let me brush her teeth. I'm talking tears and screaming, running away to hide. Nothing had happened, I had not hurt her while brushing, I think it was just a will thing. She wanted to do it herself. We tried several times letting her brush first, and then letting me follow up, but even that began to bring out rebellion. I figured "Hey, it's a phase, she will grow out of it soon. If it is this stressful for her, I will just let her do it." Fast forward a year when I take her to this highly recommended dentist. Lovely office, Raia loved it! Totally kid-friendly, they even had TV's above each chair playing Disney movies. Now, going into this I knew that Raia had cavities in 2 of her back teeth, they were visible. I also knew that she had one side-front tooth (one of the ones beside her two front teeth) that had come in broken and looked like it had a cavity at the gum line. That one I had worried about since it came in. Let me stop here and say what a big girl Raia was during her dental exam. She was such a trooper, which totally surprised me! They were all doting on her, and she ate it up, loved every minute of it! Then, the actual dentist comes over to take a look and tells me that Raia has 4 back teeth (two on each side at the very back on the top) with enormous cavities in them, 2 of which will need root canals!!! ROOT CANALS!!!!! Then, he says that the broken one must have broken sometime before it came in when she was learning to walk and would need to be REMOVED, and that there was trauma to her permanent teeth (inside her gums still) from said fall. Great. Then, the other side-tooth on the other side of her two front teeth had a pin hole cavity on the backside of the tooth. He told me all of her bad teeth needed immediate attention. The ones that tore me up the most were the one he said needed to be pulled, and the root canals. She was only 2 years old!!! :( When his financial person pulled me into her office to talk about what this would cost us, she was very cold and uncaring. Nice, yes, but I say this all the time: There are 3 ways you communicate with someone, 1.) what you say, 2.) body language, and 3.) tone of voice. All of her words were very nice, but everything else was just off. I didn't like her. She told me that what we would be paying out of pocket was $1886.00. This dentist was one who likes to sedate kids with IV drugs or oral sedation. In Raia's case, it would have taken two sessions to complete all dental work, with oral sedation at each session. The cost of sedation total (which I am NOT a fan of in the first place)...$700 out of pocket. Are you kidding me?!

Nathan and I wanted a second opinion. I am one of those Moms who wants to go back with my child, especially her being so young and with so many problems with her teeth. Not many dentists allow that. So I searched for months for a dentist who would allow me to go back with Raia. Now, I understand I can't be back there during a procedure as deep as what Raia needs, nor would I want to be, but if I had the urge to get up and walk back there while the procedure is being done just to check on her, I want a dentist who will not frown upon it.

We found a new dentist who would let me go back with her if I wanted to. Our first visit was fabulous. Raia had a blast :) This dentist office was not all decked out like the previous one, but was still kid-friendly. As soon as we went back, the dental assistant let Raia pick out a pair of shades to wear while she cleaned her teeth.

The dental assistant told me that she did see quite a few problem areas and a few things to be concerned about, so they were going to go X-ray. So she took Raia over to X-ray, which was just in the next room. I could hear her in there giggling at the dental assistant and showing just how great she is :) I had a terrible headache, and my eyes were burning like fire, so I put my head in my hands and started rubbing my temples and my eyes. The dentist walked over to me and asked if I was alright....he was genuinely concerned about me! He had been standing nearby while Raia was having her teeth cleaned, even came over to glance in her mouth. He was making sure that I was not upset about the news they had given me (which I already knew was bad). I was impressed. We talked for a few minutes about his grandchildren, his dogs, the weather...I really liked him. Just in that 3 minute conversation I could tell a lot about him.

After he examined the X-rays he came to talk to me again. He said that 1.) only 2 teeth needed immediate attention, (not 6 like the previous dentist had said), and 2.) that the side-front tooth that had come in broken and had a cavity around it would only need a little white filler in it, where the other dentist said it would need to be pulled.....HALLELUJAH!! I had been so worried about my baby girl's sweet smile being different if they had to pull that tooth!! There were other teeth that had small cavities, like the very back 2 on the top and one very small one on the bottom, but nothing we needed to deal with right away. I wondered what happened to the pin hole cavity on the back of the other side-front tooth the first dentist had seen...things that make ya say "hmmmmmm"!

Tomorrow, well, make that TODAY, Raia goes in to have her 2 root canals. I guess in children they call them "pulpectomies". Another great thing about this dentist is that he DOES NOT sedate - orally or IV. She will have a dose of Children's Motrin and a dose of Children's Benedryl an hour and a half before her appointment bright and early at 8:30am (gosh, that's 4 hours from now! Mommy nerves are not letting me feel the least bit sleepy). Then she will get the gas mask to just make her a little sleepy while they do what they need to do (which by the way, only costs us $70 out of pocket, compared to the $700 the first dentist wanted! Huge difference!!). I am praying that everything goes well, and that she doesn't just HATE the dentist after today.

Things didn't go exactly as planned at the dentist today, she ended up needing one more tooth worked on. He was afraid it would abscess before we could get to it at the beginning of the year when our insurance starts over. Bummed about that. She did so great, though. The dentist told us that while she had the gas mask on, she looked up at him and asked, "Am I at the dentist?", to which he replied "Yes". She then said, "I looooooove the dentist!". Haha, silly girl!! He was bragging on her, and told us how she talks like a grown up, and he was amazed by that. What can I say? She's a smart one!
I did get really frustrated with the ladies behind the desk, because when we first came in they said they had us scheduled to do all of her teeth, which was NOT what we had discussed a few weeks ago. They had even given me a total of what we'd have to pay today out of pocket, so that got me stressed. Then, a lady sitting in the waiting room with us (it was just Nathan and I, and the other lady) decided to take a phone call on her cell phone. At first it was just mindless chatter, LOUD chatter, and then she started giving the woman on the phone her Avon order. She was discussing which color lip glosses she should get, "Tickled Pink" or "Iced Pink". I was annoyed to begin with, but this woman pushed me over the edge, I had to go sit in the car for a bit. It was a combination of stress for my little girl having to have all this dental work done in the first place, the fact they got it screwed up and almost cost us a fortune by doing it all today, that she had to have a 3rd tooth worked on because it was so bad, lack of sleep, and this irritating loud woman on her cell phone. Do people just not think anymore?
Anyway....overall we had a good outcome. Raia is feeling fine now. We are home watching cartoons, and she got a milkshake on the way home per the dentists orders (LOL)! She had the funny numb lips up until about an hour ago, and it made her talk and smile funny, I got a kick out of that. Just wanted to update on the dentist visit.

Sorry that was so long, hope you're still awake :)

Now, onto headaches. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time at all, you know that I have suffered from daily headaches for years, which have been diagnosed as "migraines". The Dr. I have been seeing once told me "I diagnose you wit' migraines. 95% have no cause. Google it." - that's what he said when I asked for any kind of tests to determine their cause. So instead of Googling migraines, I Googled for a new Dr., and asked anyone and everyone I knew for a referral. One of my dearest friends, Cathy, has a cousin who sees a headache specialist. It took me about 2 months to finally call and set up an appt. (when I would remember to call they would be closed; you always remember these things when you are lying in bed trying to fall asleep). Anyway, I called and got an appt. for 2 months down the line :( They told me if they had any cancellations, they'd call me. In the meantime, they sent me a packet in the mail with all of the paperwork I needed to fill out beforehand (nice!) and a Headache Log, something to keep track of the severity and number of headaches I got. I knew she was on top of things as soon as I saw the chart. That 2 month wait was loooooong. My friend Cathy had agreed to drive me because she knew just how important this appointment was, never mind that she was due to have her second child in 4 days! So off we went.

The Dr.'s office had very low lighting in the waiting room, and in all of the exam rooms had just the blinds open, no lights on - you could tell this was a headache center LOL! The Dr. came in and asked me all kinds of questions, then she came over to me and pressed on several different points on my head. My headaches have always felt like I have a rod going in just above my right eye and coming out at the base of my skull on the right side. When she pressed on that spot at the back of my head, IT HURT!! The previous Dr. had done the same thing (sort of) but he never really pressed, he kind of just put his fingers on my head and asked "hurt?", but his touch was so light that no, it didn't hurt at all. After a few more physical exams (reflexes, light shone in my eyes, follow the finger back and forth, etc.) she said she was going to her office to read my previous Dr.'s notes in my medical file I had brought (which I had tried to read, but as with a lot of Dr.'s, it looked like chicken scratch to me). About 10 minutes later she came back into the room and announced, "Well, these are definitely NOT migraines". FINALLY!!!!! A Dr. who was not just going to throw some blanket diagnosis and a bunch of pills at me!!!! She pulled out a piece of paper with an anatomical diagram of the back of a skull. She told me I have what is called Occipital Neuralgia. Then she explained and showed me on the diagram the nerves that come out of the spinal cord and travel up the neck usually come out of a small opening in the muscle that covers the skull. With Occipital Neuralgia, the nerves either get compressed in the opening, or they miss that opening altogether, and just force themselves straight through the muscle. There are 4 places where the nerves come through: on either side of the spinal cord at the base of the skull, and on each side of the neck (just a bit farther over on each side, toward the ears) which go toward the temples. Either way, it causes pain that starts on one side of the head (front) and travels through to the other side (back).

I cried in her office after she had explained everything to me. This Doctor is truly a Godsend. I told her after all these years, and the stupid "migraine" diagnosis after diagnosis I had gotten, and being told "sorry, go home and take some Tylenol" I was glad to finally have someone who could give me a diagnosis that makes perfect sense, and a treatment that doesn't include a basketful of pills that are going to kill my liver and/or get me hooked.

*The picture says it is copyrighted, hope I don't get in trouble for using it :( Here is a link to it's SOURCE.

In the left diagram you can see the two nerves that come up on either side of the spinal column. The one on the right side is the one that is most affecting me, though I do have a little pain on the left, too. My Dr. says there are two ways to "fix" this. The first being nerve blocks, which, in a nutshell means that she will give me a shot of a steroid and a numbing agent at the site where the nerve comes through the muscle. Patients are said to have either immediate and long-lasting effects or short-lived effects. Please please PLEASE pray that the nerve blocks work!! I go in on Oct. 26th for this procedure. The second way to "fix" this, if the first does not work (and I may need to have several treatments before we move to the second option) is surgery :( She told me that in all (I think she said all?) cases where they did surgery, it is when the nerves had come through the muscle rather than the opening. Not even thinking about option 2 right now, just focusing on the nerve blocks and praying they work. She is slowly getting me off of all the poison my previous Dr. had me on, and has prescribed Cymbalta to help with the stress, which we found causes a lot of my headaches. She gave me samples to last 2 weeks. The Cymbalta is working GREAT, but sadly, I will not be able to afford it. I called my pharmacy yesterday to see how much the prescription would be per month with my insurance, and it's just not something we can handle at this time (it wasn't that bad, but the money is just not there right now when we are living paycheck-to-paycheck and have nothing left over). I will talk with her to see if there are any other cheaper alternatives. And the Cymbalta was only prescribed to get me through until we can get rid of these headaches, hopefully with the nerve blocks! So maybe I won't even need it!

Ok, now onto what you really came here for LOL!! CUTE PICTURES!!! Maybe they will wake you up from my novel-induced slumber (HA!) ;)

Raia LOVES to dress up! Here lately, she is changing her clothes 7 and 8 times a day!!

We recently watched the movie 'Food, Inc.' and if you have not watched it, you MUST. It was lifestyle changing for us. Sure, it is going to be a process, but we are really trying to eat better quality foods. We went to a farmers market a few days after watching it, and we picked out a few yummy vegetables and fruits. They had a bunch of pumpkins out, and Raia hopped up on the display where there was an empty spot, declaring it her "seat" :) She had been pushing a toy grocery cart through the small little market, putting as many of the small pumpkins, big(ger) pumpkins, gourds, fruits, etc. as she could possibly fit in! So I was happy to see her take a break from that, and it made a perfect Fall Photo opportunity (not the best quality, mind you, I took it with my cell phone)!

This was one day after church, we got home and she picked up the water hose to "wash" my car. Such a helpful girl!

Please forgive our bed-heads. This was one morning just after we had woken up, sharing some love with our pup, Dexter.

My sweetheart dog, Gibson, giving me his best smile for the camera :) He has turned out to be THE. BEST. DOG. EVER. Such a loyal companion. After everything that we went through when we got him, makes me realize how blessed I am to have him in my life, and how blessed we are as a family to call him a part of it. Dex will come around, (and YES, he is family too!), he is still a puppy. He has a good teacher and big brother, so I have no doubts :) (Dex is still just really hyper LOL).

I have found a fabulous little story time to take Raia to on Tuesday mornings at Wendy's (fast food restaurant, we don't eat much, promise!) before we go to the library. The first half hour or so the lady does face or arm painting, next she reads a story and has them play and act out fun things, and last she makes balloon animals and flowers! This flower lasted 2 whole weeks!! The other balloon creations Raia has brought home have not fared so well LOL!

Daddy made a fort in the living room with parts of the couch. Raia is camping out under there, haha, look at that hair!!!

Halloween is in just a week and a half! I picked out this costume for Raia a month or so ago from the little store I work in - got it for $6.50! She cannot wait to go trick-or-treating! She keeps wanting to wear the costume NOW! I have let her wear it a few times - once for some professional pictures...hoping to get the disc soon so I can share, but I'm not sure any of the costume pictures turned out :( So here is one to enjoy NOW!

Thanks for checking in!