Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Update 6/24/13

Hello Precious Ones !!!!! ;)
Yesterday, Monday (6/24/13) we had a post surgical follow up with Mia's surgeon to discuss her progress !
Overall, he was pretty pleased with what he found !!  There were a couple of things he wasn't quite so thrilled with......but, let's focus on the positive points first !!!! ;)

1.  Her hips are still securely in place !! YAAAY!!! Praising God !!! ;)
2.  We have NO signs of subluxation !!!  (this is basically a 'slipping' or 'sliding' of the femur within the socket causing a partial dislocation)
3.  We have NO signs of AVN !!!!  (AVN is avascular necrosis.  It is when the blood supply is hindered and/or lost and so the ball or 'head' of the femur begins to die due to the lack of blood)
4.  Good range of motion !!!   (pretty self explanatory !!! ;)

All things to be very grateful for !!! ;)  This part made us so happy !!!!

As a rule of thumb, hip dysplasia is measured more or less by the angle of the acetabulum (the hip socket).  A normal or good range for the acetabulum is between 18° and 20°.....right now, Mia's left hip is sitting at about 25°, and her right is about 28°.  They still need to come down.  Mia complains much more about pain in her right side as opposed to her left, and this is part of the reason why.  Now, at the same time, we are going to sing some additional praises!  To give you an idea of how far, (by the amazing grace of God, and the gifts He gave to her surgeons), she has come and a better picture of how severe her dysplasia was...is....was ;), when we began this journey, Mia's angles on both sides were around 60° !!!!!!!!!!  That's pretty ugly !!!!  However, we do not ever want to become so 'weighed down' by the road still ahead of us that we forget to give thanks for and celebrate how far we've come !!!!  We are extremely grateful !!!!!! <3

So now, let's cover the things he wasn't so happy about:

1.  Her pain.... he was really very concerned with how much she still hurts.....we are still on a regular regimen of pain meds, we believe it is mostly due to #2.   her stiffness.  The front portion of her pelvis and hips is still very, very tight.  Despite a lot of usage, they don't seem to be loosening up.  This seemed to concern him a great deal as well.  And lastly,
3.  her endurance.  possibly also caused by #2.  \

Still, there are more positives than negatives, and we're going with those !!!! ;)

The plan of action......for now, we have a series of physical therapy exercises to do at home (while we straighten out her insurance fiasco, which is just nuts!) and so, we'll do those for the next 6 months to see how she progresses.  We will change the game somewhat, and begin to push her a little more, in an effort to build up her endurance.  Yeah, we know this is going to be an ugly process.  I see many meltdowns coming, so if you see us in a store and you hear the meltdown, it's just us "pushing through".  We need to find out if the stiffness can be resolved through exercise and usage or if there is something physically stopping them from loosening.  If they do not loosen on their own, we'll have no choice but to go back in surgically to help them.  We see Dr. Oswald again on December 23, and we will again reassess her progress and decide how soon another surgery will be needed.  As it stands right now, unless we need to go in to resolve this issue (and of course, we pray we don't!) her next surgery will likely be next Summer.  Somewhere between ages 5 and 6 (can't believe she'll be 5 in February !!!!! :/  ) This is when they will need to go in and do what they call "fine tuning" the hips to allow for her growth.

We can't thank you all enough for the love and support you've shown us throughout our journey, and for the love and support you'll continue to show as we push through !  We are so grateful for the gift of each of you, and the light of God's love that you've brought to us.  Thank you !!!!!!!! ;)
Team Mia is and always will be the best !!!!!

While we were there, we made a presentation !! ;)  As part of One Hip World's 'Grateful Hips and Hearts' campaign, we presented Dr. Oswald and the Staff of Pediatric Orthopaedic Associates with a certificate of 'love and appreciation' !!!!! ;)  Just thanking them for their love and kindness !!!! ;)
Below are some pictures of our visit, as well as Mia with Dr. Oswald and 4 members of the POA staff who received the certificate on behalf of themselves and everyone else !!! We're very blessed with everyone at POA, and we shudder to think what our journey would be like without them !!!!!

If you'd like a copy of the certificate to present to someone you are grateful for, just email One Hip World at onehipworld@yahoo.com and we'll get you one sent right over !!!! ;)

Enjoy the pics, thank you for staying with us, thank you for your love and prayers....know that you are loved and prayed for daily, and thank you for choosing to be a Miracle for our Mia !!!! <3

With a Mamma's grateful heart !!!! xoxoxo

before the exam, when we were still smiling !!! ;)

I loooove this face !!!!! ;)
Mia and the fantastic, Dr. Oswald

Ms. Tracee, Ms. Dorothy, Ms. Theresa & Ms. Lynn

The One Hip World 'Grateful Hips and Hearts' Certificate

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

One step at a time.....

Just a little update.....I promised to try to do better at keeping her blog updated, although, there really isn't anything new or exciting happening.....but, I have to believe in my heart that we are moving forward.

Every day, we continue to battle pain and "phantom" fevers....we've done lab after lab, and while some things come back "abnormal", nothing seems to give us any clear cut answers.  Some days are better than others....she has really good days, where she walks, run, jumps and plays....and, you can't imagine how it warms my heart to watch her do so.  The downside is that those days always come at a price.  Within hours, her pain is.....almost consuming.  Fevers always seem to follow suit.  Her pain/fever reducing meds help, but, not for long.  They are a "band-aid" we use....it helps the symptoms, but we are praying to eliminate the cause.  Rheumatology still sits as a "maybe"....and so, the circle continues.
Yesterday, she woke up feeling pain, and looking more pale than usual, and a couple of times, she said she was dizzy.  When we took her for her blood work around 1:30 or so, I noticed she felt warm.  I had no thermometer to check her, and she had no other symptoms other than the pain.  She was amazingly brave and strong, and didn't shed a tear as they stuck her.  We did our usual mantra...."What do we say, Mia?"...."No Fear, Mamma!"...."that's right, baby....why are we not afraid?"...."Because, Jesus is with me!".....;)   If nothing else, she knows the most important one to turn to....in times of joy, times of pain, times of celebration and times of fear.  This alone comforts my "mother's heart"...
Within 5 minutes of completing the blood draw, she started to look strange....next thing I knew, she had vomited all over herself, Daddy, the tech, the floor....just everywhere.....more color drained from her face....we get her settled, and her little legs were so wobbly, she couldn't stand.  Was it the blood draw ??  the fever ???  the pain ???  Truthfully, we don't know !!  After a few hours, she seemed better....was a little relieved the pediatrician didn't call back...would have felt silly saying "she's ok now"....still we need to find out why these things keep happening, and so randomly.  She slept well last night, and today seems...well, what has become more the norm, for her.

I know and believe in my heart that we will get her through this.....we will find answers, and we will continue to fight until we do !! As we all heard and learned in my last post....we fully intend to "Finish the Drill"!!!! ;)

Please continue to pray for Mia and for her doctors and all who love and look after her......pray for our strength, courage, faith, determination, healing and comfort while we seek answers.  And know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Team Mia is prayed for daily !!!!! ;)

Thank you, for loving us through it all......and thank you, thank you, thank you for choosing to be a miracle for our Mia, and know that we will not give up on our fight....we'll continue to take it, one step at a time !!!!!!!!!!

We love you all !!!!

With a Mamma's very grateful heart,
~ <3 Gina <3 ~

Sunday, May 12, 2013 - Mother's Day....feeding the goats at Southern Belle Farms, McDonough

Picking some fresh strawberries at the farm !  We had to sit, "just for a while, Mamma"   this child is my heart !!! 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Live life, have faith and “FINISH THE DRILL!”

You might want to grab a cup of coffee….this post is going to “take a minute”… ;)
Soooo….who’s mad at me for not updating ??!! [hanging my head in shame.]   I’m sorry…I truly am.  I have been a little overwhelmed, as we have been dealing with a series of….not really “setbacks” so much as problematic “snags”.  For the past several months, Mia has been contending with an unexplained increase in pain as well as random high fevers.  When she has a ‘flare up’, she spends about a week in bed until it passes.  We are working closely with her pediatrician, her surgeon and now a rheumatologist to get some answers.  We are trying to figure out if it is related to her hip dysplasia.  We are blessed to have these people as well as all of you on our “team”….Team Mia.  And, do not worry, God is in control, and I promise to do better at keeping her blog updated with what we find !!!   ;)  Never for a moment am I ever NOT grateful for your love and prayers!  We all are.  ;)

Now, while we are on the subject of “teams”, I want very much to share something with all of you.
Here in the USA, American football is very big….REALLY big….particularly on the College level.  I am not pointing any fingers, since I myself have a love for the game.  I grew up in a football family….my Dad coached, my brothers played, my Mom gave of her time/talents as a team Mom, and I cheered.  I have a respect for team sports which my Dad shared with us…many things you need for life can be learned in playing a team sport.  Things like teamwork, respect for authority,  determination, perseverance, endurance, humility.   (Yes, humility….take a string of losses and it will save you from an ego swell!  Haha)  So, while I’ve never actually played the game, I ‘get it’, I love it, I watch it, I learn from it! And, while neither my husband, nor I ever attended the University of Georgia, we are very much “Dawg” fans…both my Michael and I have family members who have graduated from UGA, and…well, once a GA family, always a GA family !!!  ;)

While I have followed GA football for many years, and I have always had a healthy respect for past players and Coaches….I have a confession….none have touched my heart as much as our current Coach, Mark Richt has.  I have not met him personally, but I have yet to hear from anyone who has met him that he is anything other than a genuinely good man.  I think it is probably his courage to share his faith that first made me pay attention when he talked.    With his permission, I want to share with you 3 little words, with 1 BIG message!  “FINISH THE DRILL”.  These are the words God gave Coach Richt to use to motivate his players and the other students….little did he know that God would use him and his words to motivate many others beyond the football field.  Myself included.  When I first heard those words, “Finish the Drill”, I had just begun a personal battle to lose weight.  (they helped and I did….but, that’s another story for another day !! haha)  That phrase resonated within me.  “Finish the Drill”.  When Mia was diagnosed with her hip dysplasia, again they surfaced, and in my heart I heard, “finish the drill”.  We were given a brand new “drill”.
 By its definition, a “drill” is (according to the online dictionary), “A task or exercise for teaching a skill or procedure by repetition.”  And, here’s the important, critical thing….in order for a drill to be effective, you must have a GOAL !!!  What is your goal?  What are you working towards? 
My earthly goal is simple.  To have a happy, healthy little girl who can live, love and enjoy her life while glorifying God through it.  For me to reach my goal it will take many drills to build my faith and to teach my Mia.  And, in His infinite wisdom, God will allow me (and you!) to do it again and again and again until we get it right, and it becomes a part of our very nature.  I’m grateful for this!  So, so grateful.  
On the surface, drills can sometimes seem pointless…and, they are exhausting! However, a specific drill is used in a specific situation to develop a specific attribute or ability.  A drill done hard enough and long enough will rock you to your core, and make you reach into a place deep within your heart and soul to find the strength to finish it. (Football players everywhere are shaking their heads in agreement right now!  hahaha…”death crawl”, guys ???!! hahaha ) Drills can lift you up, and take you to a higher place if you let them.  That is what they are designed to do!  That is their purpose!  They ‘invade’ you, they permeate your being, mold you and push you to greatness.  

And, let’s face it, the old adage is true, ‘anything worth having is worth working for.’
“Finish the Drill” means, knowing what (and who) you are fighting for and not losing sight of that.  Despite how tired you may get….how many ‘blows’ you may take…how many setbacks you may have.  You must start strong, stay strong, and finish STRONG!  And, you can do this, because He promises to do it with you!  He, God, is our Coach.  He will lead us and guide us, encourage us and push us, because in the end that is what a good Coach does, but more importantly it is what a loving Father does.  He hand- picked each of our drills…knowing the best one to develop in us what we would need to accomplish our goal.  He has picked yours too.  Whatever your “field of battle” may be….whether its hip dysplasia, some other illness, an addiction, a hurting heart….He knows.   I promise you, He knows.  And, He is with you, always!  Will it be easy?  No.  Will you get tired? Yes.  Will you want to give up?  Absolutely!…..  Will it be worth it?  YES!!!!
I found an article recently, where Coach Richt talks about his job, and he is quoted as having said, “…I couldn’t do this job without His [God’s] strength, power, and wisdom. We all have a limitation to our knowledge and our strength, our stamina—whatever it is, we all have limits. Once we hit the limit, if we have nowhere to turn, that’s when we have despair and depression. But if we know God is there for us and we are connected to his power, we can keep going.”   This statement is true in coaching… true in football....true in every, single aspect of life.  If God didn’t believe you could do it, He never would have chosen you for the job.  He does not ever set you up to fail.  He says, “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

The field of hip dysplasia is an ugly place.  Particularly here in the last few weeks, it has felt especially rough.  Unfortunately, we have new people, new children taking the field for the first time, just beginning their fight.  We have some who are deep within the 4th quarter.  Others, like ourselves, are praying and waiting to hear the buzzer to signal that we’ve at least made it to half time.  And, as I look around at my teammates, many of them are beaten and bruised.  They are weary, and frustrated.   And, we are all so very tired.  So now, NOW is the time for you to reach within.  Now is the time for you to dig deep and find within yourself the courage to continue.  As one of my most favorite lines from one of my most favorite movies says, “…it’s all heart from here”.  (Facing the Giants….if you haven’t seen it, check it out, and you will LOVE this scene !!!)  Make the choice!  Choose to fight!  Choose to keep going!  In time, you will win!
Know that throughout your battle, God will pick drills especially for you, yes, and sometimes, you will win….sometimes you will lose.  How many W’s or L’s you have aren’t nearly as important as the amount of heart with which you fought, the experiences you drew from having fought, and the people you touched along the way.  He will also give you incredible teammates, people who share the same ‘field’…those who will fight with you.  Just remember to look around….. You’re not alone….not only are there teammates for you to rely on….there are many who are cheering you on, and your heavenly “Coach” and Father will never let you down!
Whatever the battle, fight hard and fight smart!  
Remember to:
Protect your mind….do not allow things like doubt, fear and anxiety to take root and set up residence.  They will deter you from your goal, and interrupt your drill.  Exercise your knowledge!
Protect your words…..words have power!  What you say, you will bring in to existence!  If you say you “can’t”, then, you “won’t”….it really is that simple.  Choose to stay positive.  Exercise your will!
Protect your heart….safeguard against despair and depression.  They have no place in a fighter like you.  Exercise your hope!
And, protect your Spirit…..it is where God dwells with you, and in you, and through you.  Exercise your love!

I want to thank Coach Richt for allowing me to share his ‘motto’ with all of you.  I am grateful for the encouragement and strength I have received from them, and since they are words which I believe have been inspired by God, I hope that you will find in them the strength you need to look deep within and find whatever tools you may need in your personal battle.

When you get tired….when you feel you can’t take another step…when you feel that you are losing hope, remember…..I believe in you….I believe in the one who made you….I know you can do it !!!

Now, go….live life….have faith…….and FINISH THE DRILL !!!!!!!!!!!!!  ;)

Oh, and lest we forget…….GO DAWGS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

With a Mamma's grateful heart,