Dating Profile

Comment 1 Standard

It’s that time of the year. Goat breeding season. We were lucky to land a buck pretty easily but not before my ladies posted that dating profiles. So I’ll go ahead and upload them for future use.

Millie

If goats had dating apps

Millie Age:3

Interests: Being first to the feed bowl. Lounging on the top step and shoving people that are slow to give her treats.

Herd Queen. A little sassy but loves a good cuddle.

Looking for a handsome buck. Horned or polled no preference. Someone who wouldn’t mind sharing his hay with her!

Capri

If goats had dating apps

Capri Age:1

Interests: Complaining loudly. Lounging on the second step and hanging out with her mom.

Gentle and sweet and doesn’t mind falling to the background but gives attitude when needed. Easygoing. Princess of the herd. Sweet to look at.

Looking for a handsome buck. Horned or polled no preference. Someone who will lead and share his warm straw bed.

Toffee

If goats had dating apps

Toffee Age: 2

Interests: I identify as a dog. So I spend most of my time hanging out with a Rhaegar (Great Pyrenees) Enjoys jumping fences and sampling international weeds.

She’s a tall girl with a fun personality. Sweet and loyalty always by your side. Life of the party. Leader in mischief.

Looking for a handsome buck. Horned or polled no preference. Someone who is confident enough to handle her height. Someone who isn’t easily influential her trouble maker. Who likes to have a good time. And it’s intimidated that her best friend is a handsome Great Pyrenees

Advertisements

A New Piece to the Puzzle

Leave a comment Standard

I was beginning to feel a but defeated. I was beginning to question what I was seeing, my very sanity. Because no one else could see what I was telling them. A certain doctor we see had led me to know that they didn’t see what I was saying. How could I work with someone who didn’t believe me. I felt like screaming and shouting but I needed the doctor on my side. I went home sad, angry, and defeated. That day my courage did not roar. It cowered, it questioned, it considered believing what I had been told. But then I remembered that I am her mom. I know her best. I am her best advocate. I will not be silenced. I pushed for what I felt she needed and I’m glad I did.

Ever since AJ was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) she doesn’t eat much st all. It’s not that she doesn’t like the food but it seems that eating is painful and that she doesn’t have much room. When she wouldn’t take in enough formula I kept being told to make it taste better. I was telling anyone who would listen that she liked the formula but it was a volume problem. I was told that her last Gastric Emptying Scan(1.5 years ago) was fine. So I kept trying to push the formula. Finally we got into feeding therapy. They listened to everything I explained and said that it sounded like she had delayed gastric emptying. I got the doctor to order the test, but was warned that “these things don’t change quickly. I’m not expecting to see changes and if there are none we won’t repeat this”. But with the knowledge I had gained from our wonderful feeding therapists I felt supported.

So we reported to Nuclear medicine. She had to eat radioactive ☢️ oatmeal. Then she would lie completely still for 90 minutes while her stomach was imaged every five minutes. What a trooper. I have a very short attention span so it wasn’t easy but I can’t imagine what it was like for a 3 year old.

Burning the test I watched the red blob on the screen. The concentrated ball was the radioactive material in her stomach. Over time we should see it spread into her small intestine.

I went home with the images and used my limited knowledge to try to read them. I scoured the internet but I couldn’t make heads or tails of our images. It was Friday and I knew I’d be hearing back Monday so I tried to push it out of my mind.

Monday morning I brought the images to feeding therapy with the hopes of making some sense of it. Unfortunately they aren’t versed in reading the results which I assumed, but it was worth a try wasn’t it. Luckily we wouldn’t have to wait much longer. As we wrapped up the appointment and walked towards the scale I received THE CALL. Perfect timing.

THE VERDICT

Asher has delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis). I do not know much about how it’s measured but I’ll explain what I understand from the report. According to the report for normal gastric emptying the “food” (radioactive material) should have a half life of LESS THAN 90 minutes. Asher’s was 143 minutes.

Validation

Obviously hearing that there is something else going on in your child’s GI system is tough to hear but this diagnosis explains a lot. It explains why she is always asking for food but can’t eat it (starving and full). Why she can eat a decent breakfast but struggled to eat the rest of the day. Why she’s full after two bites. And why she can’t drink more than 6 oz of formula. It helped me understand that what I was seeing was REAL.

Solution

At this time I’m waiting for confirmation from Cincinnati Children’s on the treatment. The proposed treatment plan is to try Erythromycin.  I’m nervous because she has a few antibiotic allergies and I myself and allergic to Erythromycin, BUT we must try.  So we’ll be going to the allergist to get her take on the idea, finishing the antibiotics she is currently on for a respiratory thing she had going on, and then we will be continuing this adventure.  Meanwhile the nurse practitioner at feeding therapy will be looking at her eating habits and diagnoses on a whole level and determining what’s the best eating pattern for Asher.

I will go on record AGAIN to say that I’m NOT a patient person. I like things that move quickly especially when it comes to making my kids feel better, BUT I will say that I have created a wonderful team of doctors from a few different specialties to look at my daughter  and steer me in the direction we need to go. We have a dedicated team both local in Cincinnati that are coming together to piece this 1000 piece puzzle, that is Asher, together.

Thank you for continuing to follow her journey and not being too frustrated that I haven’t blogged much about farming.  It is still going on, but it’s a very much behind the scenes project right now.  But it’s almost breeding time so stay tuned.

HAPPY FLOCKING!

The Process: Getting to the Bottom of AJ’s Eosinophilic Disease

Comments 2 Standard

Monday, September 17th

Let me just tell you that Cincinnati morning traffic is no joke. It look us 45 minutes to get to a hospital that is 9 minutes away. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I AM A COUNTRY MOUSE! Luckily we had been warned by my dad about the traffic and we left in plenty of time.

The hospital itself is gorgeous. Its very colorful. In fact its color coordinated and alphabetized so that you know where to go. It’s the Disney Land of hospitals. I cannot say enough about how efficient and streamlined every step of our journey was. Nurses are willing to walk you from one appointment to another. They help you sign in and give you all sorts of tips. The attention to stopping the spread of germs was like nothing I’d seen before. Mandatory hand cleansing of patients before entering certain areas. No open tissue boxes sitting out in the OR and once a box is opened and a patient enters the room they either take that box of tissues with them or it’s trash. They had hand scrubbing wipes on every table.  It reminds me of that Hulu commercial where they tell you NEVER to fly first class because it’ll ruin coach for you forever…yeah, local hospitals just can’t compare.

Today was our biggest and longest day at the hospital. We had a 2 hour appointment in the GI clinic. I have never met with a GI doctor for this long. There was no rush or sense that I was being dramatic or a burden. They asked a ton of questions about everything from Asher’s birth to present and didn’t rush me when I rambled on with too many details. Then they allowed us time to just talk, explain our concerns and minute details that we thought may be important to her case. Lastly we were offered time to ask all of the questions that we wanted before signing her procedure consent. Naturally we apologized for asking so many questions and he doctor reassuringly said “No problem at all and it wasn’t that many”. Relief flooded me, these doctors understand the emotional component of this disease. Someone said to me, on the topic of me being nervous about Cincinnati not being different than my failed attempts at local hospitals,

“Cinci is going to teach you instead of you needing to teach them. You’re both going to be fine now. You’ve won your fight for your baby. Let yourself believe it.”

She was right. Whenever I go to the doctors I feel like I’m fighting a case. Like I need to prove to them what’s going on and teach them. In Cincinnati I never felt a shred of doubt. They not only believed me but they wanted to help my baby!

Endoscopy

After the GI clinic was completed we were walked down to check AJ in for her procedure. She was given coloring pages to scribble on and taken to a room to wait for her turn. For a kid that doesn’t eat much she was HANGRY. It was just after noon and she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since 8:45 the night before.  We watched TV while anxiously waiting to get the show on the road.  The anesthesiologist came in to talk to us about the procedure and took me telling her that AJ has reactive airways very seriously.  This time the pre-treated her with a breathing treatment.  Shortly after the breathing treatment they would come to get AJ and wheel her to the operating room.  We got to go back with her and stay until they but her to sleep.

After she was asleep we were walked back to the waiting room.  This is always the hardest part.  I kept my eyes glued on the number monitor waiting to see her name go from pink (in OR) to green (in PACU).  Finally they called our name over the PA to talk with the doctor.  We were taken into a small room where the fellow and the doctor came in.  The first difference that I noticed between here and our local hospitals is that I got a big page full of pictures for my records. The doctor immediately put our mind at ease by telling us that Asher did great during the surgery.  They went over the pictures with us and explained what they saw.  They said that at the top of her esophagus there was some thickening and swelling that is consistent with eosinophilic disease.  They also mentioned that she had some polyps at the opening of her small intestine that they biopsied.  Overall however her esophagus looked pretty good and like it was healing as opposed to getting worse.  MUSIC TO OUR EARS.  Then the hardest part…we were sent back out to the waiting room to wait until Asher was in PACU and ready to be seen.

I’ll admit that when the 30 minute mark approached I was more than antsy.  It has NEVER taken this long for me to get back to her and my mind was reeling with all of the reasons that she wasn’t ready yet.  I had my ears straining to listen for codes being called.  Finally after what felt like two eternities, but was probably only about one eternity, they called out name over the PA.  I honestly don’t think I ever popped up and sprinted to a desk that fast in my life.  Usain Bolt who?  I nearly out paced the nurse to get to her bed, I don’t have these long legs for nothing.  Unfortunately I didn’t know where I was going.  typically I listen for her coughing but I didn’t hear anything.  And this is what I found when I got there…

Asher was peacefully sleeping.  No cough, no reactive airways, no screaming.  Just sweet angelic sleeping.  It would take over an hour before the nurse decided that it would be best if we woke her up.  From now on she will always be pre-treated before being put under that helped tremendously.

The rest of the week was full of appointments:

Bone density scan

Allergist:  There he made us aware that I probably have POTS and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and it makes a lot of sense that AJ may have EDS as well (it’s a dominant trait) since EOE tends to be common connection with it and that we should both look into that.

THE RESULTS:

AJ definitely has EOE, but right now it is in REMISSION (zero eosinophils).  YAY!!!  Which means that her treatment, a combination of PPI and elimination dieting, is working and healing her esophagus.  Right now the biggest issue that we are having is feeding.  We are currently on a waiting list to start feeding therapy here at home.  The dietician has determine that she currently is NOT able to take in all of her nutrition on her own orally and we’re trying a few things to change that.  They are concerned about why her airways are so reactive and why she is “croupy” so often so when we return in 3 months (YAY WE GET TO GO BACK AND CONTINUE TREATMENT) THREE specialists will be pooling their talents and doing a triple scope on her.   GI will being doing an endoscopy, ENT will be doing an upper airway scope, and pulmonology will be doing a bronchoscopy.  The big concern is to see if she has a cleft that’s causing her to aspirate food/drink or to see if the crouping is coming from a floppy airway.  The best part is that she gets to add corn, potato, and turkey back into her diet!!!  If the next scope is clean that means those foods were not the culprit.

BACK HOME: 

Asher has started school (pre-pre-k)

Now that we’re back home we tried the new medicine Periactin that we were given to try.  This medication was supposed to increase her appetite.  She took it for three days, while waiting for it to work she had an allergic reaction.  She was really flushed and itchy with hives and rashes.  We couldn’t be sure what caused the reaction but we were advised to stop the Periactin and go to our (local) GI and discuss feeding until we can get into feeding therapy.  So here at home we are limping along waiting.  I’m extremely pleased with the care that we received in Cincinnati and it is MORE than worth the trip.  I was careful not to assume that we would get some kind of magic fix, but I look forward to getting further into our treatment so that feeding isn’t so stressful each day.

BUT doctors’ appointments aren’t all we did while we were in Cincinnati check out some of our pictures:

Beginning the Journey to Wellness

Comments 2 Standard

Saturday, September 15th

Asher is all buckled up and ready to go. Could she be any cuter? No, I didn’t think so!

Saturday morning rolled around and I had been awake for a few hours with anticipation, but I purposefully procrastinated in bed because I knew the more time I had to kill the more antsy I would become. I volunteered to go get breakfast, stopped to get my eyebrows waxed and even took my mom’s trash to the dump before running my actual errand to Tractor Supply to get hay and straw for the goats. Breakfast arrived back home to my starving husband at about noon.

All I knew was that I needed to stay busy and keep moving. Road trips don’t exactly sit well with my anxiety in my old age and this one was gonna be a doozy. So I spread fresh dry straw in the goat house for impending rain (thankfully we avoided the hurricane). I carefully organized the different animal feeds so that my oldest daughter and mother in law would have an easier time feeding the farm. I hauled water and loved on goats, chickens and dogs until it became apparent that I was stalling so I went inside to pack last minute items and clean the house.

When the clock finally struck 2pm (our intended leaving time) I laid on the floor with Lilly and said my final goodbyes, gave Rhaegar a pep talk about guarding the house and I went out to the car. 2 more quick “run ins” into the house to gather left behind shoes and waters tumblers and we were off…well off 5 minutes down the road to drop off the big kids. I gave them each 5 days worth of love and then we were off…for real this time.

Hubby took the first and longest shift of driving and the trip was surprisingly smooth. The most fun part was through the mountains of West Virginia. Such a beautiful and under appreciated state.

Believe it or not we only stopped three times for the potty. One of those potty breaks was also when we stopped for food. It’s so strange to go to a restaurant outside of your normal stomping grounds. It feels bizarre without that home field advantage. AJ did wonderfully throughout the entire trip. She didn’t cry or complain one time. We expected that she would sleep the entire time but she stayed up, perfectly content, until 9:07pm. What a trooper. Originally the plan was to stop for the night in Charleston, West Virginia and then do the last leg of the trip on Sunday, but Philip and I both felt strongly that we didn’t want to take her through two days of travel and that between the two of us we could get through the 8 hour trip just fine. We arrived at our hotel late that night and all got a great nights sleep.

Sunday, September 16th

We woke up with two surprises for Asher. These adorable baby deer pajamas, and a framed picture of her siblings that we left behind to bring her here. An experienced friend told me that it was very important to “bring her siblings along” and I’m glad that I did.

We got up this morning determined to get our bearings of this city (we are country mice for sure) and to set up our hotel room as home base. We went to Target for food and supplies and the stopped for Panera (we made AJ safe oatmeal back in the room). It spoke well to my sensibilities that there was a Kroger, Target and Panera close by to make me feel at home. After lunch it was time to explore. We found a beautiful river walk that had a playground where AJ could let some energy out. There was a splash park and a Ferris wheel. I think everyone in the world knows my fear of heights makes me especially hate ferris wheels but anything for my kids–so I rode.

We had a blast. Cincinnati is a beautiful city with a lot of neat things to offer, but oh there is no place like home. I like my slow paced town over the hustle and bustle any day. City driving is my worst nightmare.

We slowly made our way back to the hotel for hotel tacos because when you’re traveling for medical reasons you want to save every single penny. Eating out every meal for a week is simply out of the question.

After a good meal, lots of play/cuddle time and a bath Asher is all tucked away and bed ready for tomorrow. In fact everyone is sound asleep but me. My mama brain can’t turn off. I’ve been wondering, preparing and most of all praying about thing to come in the following few days. We’re hoping for a new plan. Something that will bring ease and comfort. Honestly those may not be realistic or attainable for use right now (ease and comfort) but we drove 8 hours for a reason. We want the very best for our daughter and nothing will stop me from fighting.

Thank you to each and everyone of you who have reached out to us with kind words of hope, support and prayer. I promise to keep you all updated in the days to come. I hope to shoot some footage for a video but I may be too busy. We’ll play it by ear. If I don’t get enough footage I may just make a sit down discussion video to update everyone.

I should go off to sleep since I need to be up in three hours. Be on the look out for updates.

Happy Flocking!!!

Let’s Add a Hurricane in for Good Measure

Comments 3 Standard

hurricane florence

So as if I wasn’t preparing for enough with our big trip to the children’s hospital coming up it turns out we have a hurricane headed our way.  Now I will admit I am no good at preparing for inclement weather.  I’m much better with snow (so if the power goes out the cold foods can survive outside) but no power during warm weather is NOT my forte.

So here’s what I’ve done to prepare so far:

  • Bought a flash light and lantern
  • Bought bottled water
  • Bought charge packs for our phones

To prepare the animas:

  • making sure everyone has enough food
  • Securing shelters
  • Cleaning shelters
  • Removing projectiles from the yard
  • Making a safe back up space in case things get too intense

We’ve are supposed to be having rain all week so that makes it really difficult to prepare the animals.  If it comes down to it I will put the goats inside of the shed, which will be messy, but it is what it is I suppose.  For the chickens I will lock down the coop if necessary and make them all stay inside until the danger passes if that’s needed.  Rhaegar will be safe inside the sunroom if he chooses to stay out or he will come inside of the house.  Let’s just pray none of the top heavy pine trees fall on our house or car.

I still have to go to the grocery store to get bread for milk sandwiches (that joke will never get old).  But seriouslyI do need to go to the grocery store to get safe snacks for AJ during the storm and regular snacks for the rest of us.  Praying that we don’t lose power and it’s just some wind and rain.

Please keep us in your prayers.  If you are in Florence’s path stay safe and as always Happy Flocking!!!

Setting out on a Big Adventure

Leave a comment Standard

Take the time to read the poem above and mull it over. When you have a baby you ” know” what to expect, you expect a trip to Italy, but when your baby is born with a condition you aren’t expecting you crash land in Holland without a map, no tour guide and you don’t speak the language. I am so fortunate that AJ is so healthy in so many ways. I’ve also been blessed enough to find a tour guide, a sweet friend who has walked this journey ahead of me.  I am so grateful for each and every one of these step ups along this path.   It’s been a tough summer, especially August and that leads us to the next leg of this journey…our next big adventure.

During this summer AJ started to have more symptoms; difficulty swallowing, choking (with or without vomiting), decreased appetite and weight loss.   Currently her GI has her off of solid foods all together.  You would think that for a child with a decreased appetite that it wouldn’t matter whether they could eat solid foods or not, but BOY DID IT EVER.    She lived off of apple sauce.  It got to the point where the hubby and I would take turns eating dinner.  One of us would sit down to dinner with the other kids while the other one was on distraction duty…

…when it was my turn, that meant safe drinks at Starbucks and walking around Target until well past her bed time.  We limped along and did as much as we could until we got to this point.  The point when feeding my own child became a full time job and sometimes (many times) I failed at that job.  I tirelessly documented every morsel that went into her mouth and every symptom that she had.  I spent hours researching feeding methods and spent my days testing them out…anything so that she’d take another bite.  FINALLY we were given an appointment by the Cincinnati Children Hospitals EGID clinic.  We are counting down the days until we can meet with some of the top specialists in the country and get a better game plan for AJ.  We’re looking forward to it like a vacation.  And we plan on taking you guys along on the journey.  I will definitely write a post about it and I’m hoping there may be a video as well depending on how hectic things get.

It’s more than an 8 hour trip, and the evaluation is 4 days, but we jumped at the chance.  She was due for another endoscopy anyway so this was perfect timing.  They will be doing the procedure at Children’s so that the top doctors can see for themselves what is doing on instead of reading what has been interpreted by two other people before them.

We haven’t even been there or met them in person, but just by our conversations both via phone and email I know in my heart that it’s where we need to be.  They really seem to understand that there is an emotional component to not being able to consistently feed your child.  They understand that it effects the whole family and that it isn’t always as straightforward as it appears. I received these reassuring words in an email:

“There absolutely is an emotional part of it. We are made to nourish and feed our children. We’re even built that way. So it definitely affects us if that doesn’t happen the way it should. It’s hard.We understand that. And you are the best advocate for your child. 🙂 “

So be on the look out for new posts.  I’m hoping to post some about preparation for leaving and battening down the hatches at the homestead for while we’re gone and then updates about my little farm helper along the way.  Thank you for continuing to be patient with me, I realize that I have been slacking a lot with posting and now really posting about the homesteading topic much anymore, but this diagnosis has really been all consuming.  If you missed the diagnosis you can learn more here: Sorry I’ve been MIA we have a New Diagnosis… , Asher’s EoE Journey , and Rocks Along the Path: More of Asher’s Journey .

Happy Flocking!

Feast or Famine on the Farm

Comments 2 Standard

I’m just going to say it…THANK GOODNESS that we don’t depend on our hobby farm for our survival.  1.) Because I am a horrible gardener and we would have no fresh produce if it was left up to me to produce it.  2.) During the early spring we went through a time of plenty. Eggs and milk were abundant.  Peas were falling off of the wines everywhere I looked and I even hade enough bounty to give away.  Fast forward to the harsh heat of the summer and my chickens and ducks on  strike and molting.  I’m lucky if I get an egg a week.  The garden has gone to the weeds and completely dried up and my watermelon and cucumbers have all died.  My potato harvest was paltry and in all honesty the only thing that’s growing is a volunteer tomato plant from a seed I dropped.

Also life got so busy and hectic with AJ’s diagnosis and condition (Rocks Along the Path: More of Asher’s Journey ) that I got too busy to butcher my second batch of chickens and I ended up giving them to a friend who had more time than I did.

We lost a lot of chickens this spring and summer and things have over all be a little rough on the farm.  I’ve been more consistent training Rhaegar lately and the chicken deaths have stopped.  The other issues such as fencing and the poor garden yield was mostly due to me being stretched so thin that I was neglecting different areas like weeding and mending.

But I’m honestly NOT discouraged.  Even though this years garden yield was poor I know it’s not because we have poor dirt or horrible vermin issues, it’s simply because I neglected it.  So I have plenty of hope and faith that next growing season will be better.  There were definitely rocks along our farming journey this grow season, but there is still plenty of room left to grow.

How did your farm do this summer?

Happy Flocking!