Saturday, July 31, 2010

NEED good news please... anyone?

I am having one of those days. One of those days where I *NEED* good news. I need cheering up. Anyone? Something? Anything?

There are several things in regards to Greg's mobility that scare me. If we can't get Greg mobile and independent SOON, Nicky might suffer severe consequences. Why you might ask? Here we go. Ready?

1. Greg might lose his job=lose his insurance. Isn't that beautiful? Without insurance, there is no transplant for Nicky. Even if Nick starts covering Nicky with his own insurance (which I know he will, not even a small question), the new insurance might not cover the transplant or other things, such as the surgeries and bandages Nicky needs. I need not remind that Greg needs insurance himself. Have I mentioned the nightmares the Insurance companies have put me through the past 13 years since Nicky was born? No? Just wait until I finish my book. Your jaw will drop. With Greg losing his job we'll lose not only the isurance, but the house and everything else that goes with it. Forget, once again, me trying to go to College, I will need to get a full time job somewhere while being a 24/7 caregiver for both Nicky and Greg. Fantastic! Nervous breakdown? Here I come.

2. Even if Greg does not lose his job, if he needs me here to care for him, this means I cannot take Nicky to have his transplant. I am uncertain if Nick can just take him-afterall, I am Nicky's primary caregiver, and it's unlikely that Nick can take 5 months off work. Without the transplant, it's not a question IF Nicky will pass away form EB, but WHEN.

To be honest, I am sick and tired of CRAP happening to my life I have NO CONTROL over. Alex's death? I certainly didn't cause that. Nicky's EB? I didn't cause that either. Greg's strokes? Not only I didn't cause it, I really do not blame Greg for that either. Greg was a runner, he was a healthy man all his life, always eating well. Maybe not as well as he should have, his BP and cholesterol was slightly high, but he wasn't overweight by any stretch of the imagination and he was active. I see all these obese people getting drunk or high on a regular basis, eating hamburgers and french fries all the time, much older than us, yet, nothing happens to them, and they all have healthy kids and I want to know WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN THAT? Why am I the ONLY person in the family with a dead child? Why am I the ONLY person in the family with a disabled child? Why am I the ONLY person in the family with a disabled husband? Why does every CRAPPY thing have to happen to ME?

God better have a good reason and a good answer for me when I reach the perly gates, that's all I have to say.

THank you for letting me vent! I feel better now. Waiting patiently for my mood to improve. Maybe talking to my mom and dad will help-I will go call now.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The worse thing you could do...

Wanna know what is the worse thing you can do to me? Make me like I am right now, stuck, unable to travel or go anywhere. My dad has a big birthday this winter and I can't go see him. I can't go by myself because my family needs me, and I can't afford to take all three with me, let alone being able to push two wheelchairs with two hands. It ain't happening. Greg has retired his chair, but he can't really walk long distances, any air travel with my family is completely out of the question, not only to Italy but, well, to anywhere. No vacations for us, no one day trip to the beach, to an amusement park or to a national park. Connor keeps bugging me about taking him to Legoland. Yeah. I wish. Connor is stuck at the house like everyone else. I am not asking much, am I? ONE DAY. Nop. Nothing. Is this temporary? It's unknown. Greg could become independent within 6 months... or 6 years. If we'll go through with the transplant for Nicky once Greg is a bit more independent (whenever that will be), it will mean we'll be grounded for a full year after that due to the weakness and precariousness of Nicky's immune system at that point. And then, there will be the unknown of how he'll be doing after that.

Is this a big deal? It is to me. We have no family nearby. All my friends are everywhere BUT here. This means we're stuck and alone. Is it any wonder we are truly considering moving to Italy when Greg retires? Is this a shock? To be able to spend Christmas or Easter surrounded by family? How many years have YOU been away from your family? For us, is just too long. Decades... Amazingly enough, I was ridiculed for this too. Whatever. I thought my life was MINE to live. Am I wrong? Greg is the one that suggested it and wants to go! LOL. Give me a break.

So, why did I move from Italy to begin with? I get that question often times. One of my cousins was asking me that a few years ago... "were you running from something?" Nothing could be further from the truth. But, to know the truth, one has to know me REAL well. The truth is that I am, by nature an *adventurer*. By the time I was 18 I had compiled a scrapbook full of travel photos. My favorite collections were stamps and postcards from all over the world. This is one of the reasons why I didn't want children in my twenties, I wanted to LIVE. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, I probably would have gone about the whole thing quite a bit different knowing what I know NOW, but at the time I could only go by what I knew back THEN. I found every opportunity that presented itself and I grabbed it. I was not running FROM something, I was running TO. By the time I was 20 I had gone from California to Florida and back. Amusement Parks, National Parks, loved it all.

I am older now... just turned 46. I still want to travel, still want to see places. I can honestly say, there is nothing in the US I am really dying to see... maybe New York. My 'bucket list' includes Egypt, Paris, London, and Italy, yes, glorious Italy, I want to see it all. I want to take photos everywhere. I've always been keen on photography, by the time I was 10 years old I had compiled photo albums in chronological order for every member of my family. Yes, I was 10! I now have magnificent scrapbooks that are filled and I want to fill-and nobody to show them to. But, not now. I have to contend with the now. The now of taking care of my family, who will always come first. I know sometimes I've been criticized of making things about "me". The truth is, when Nicky was born with EB, it's almost as if a bomb exploded in my life that turned everything upside down. EB enters every aspect of my life. I always have to make sure the bandages are changed, the Doctor's appointments made, the transfusions taken care of, supplies ordered, and Nicky is HAPPY!!!! Everything falls on my shoulders, but somehow I am not supposed to complain, ever! I try to be positive and on most days I am, but on days like today, confronted with the reality that I can't possibly go to my dad's big birthday dash, yeah, it's depressing. I don't know WHEN I'll be able to go to Italy and see my family, at this point it's *definitely*no sooner than 2012, it will all depend on so many things which are all up in the air right now.

Give me this day of feeling sorry for myself. It does not last long. I will be better tomorrow... promise...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mini-Greg & Nicky Update 7/8/2010

I promised an update on my boys and I will do one now since it's been a while since I've done one, although I don't have too much new info to share.

Let's see... let's start with Greg. Unfortunately I can't really say I see a lot of improvement. He tells me that he keeps up with excercising at work, especially his arm, and he's finally able to open and close his hand quite a bit more that he used to, but far and wide, since, say, May, I can't say what else I can see that has improved even slightly. It's depressing him and it's depressing me. Before his second stroke this past February he had made some major strides that are yet to come back, such as his ability to walk without his brace. He still needs his brace, day in and day out and won't go without it. He uses his cane often to lean on and one good thing is that he does not want to go back to the wheelchair no matter what. He does drive to work now daily, at first he had a ride almost daily, but he's gone solo now for about a month or so. That has made a big difference in his confidence. His numbers are fantastic, blood pressure, cholesterol, everything is in the normal range.

Nicky had a rough week or two after his throat dilatation in late June, but I can see we're turning the corner a bit. Before his dilatation he used to throw up daily due to his inability to swallow and his allergies... he's allergic to "something", we can't really test him for due to his skin, but we know it's environmental. Anytime we travel anywhere, wether it's Northern California, Arizona or even Italy, his nose is clear, but here it's a different story. We finally figured out a cocktail of medicine to give him at night (a nice one! All we need to throw in is alcohol, LOL) and his itching/nose is under control. His itching, by the way, is his WORSE enemy. Especially at night when he does not realize he's doing it, that's why the meds are so important at night. 90% of his wounds are caused by his itching, so to us is *vital* to overwrap to create that very important padding to prevent him from hurting himself. It works for us. It's funny-there are some doctors that are NOT happy with the overwrapping, they tell me his skin needs to 'breathe', but, okay, the skin is now breathing BUT it's full of wounds? NO THANKS! Nicky has LARGE chunks of his legs/arms, which are his roughest spots, wound-free for ages, thanks to the overwrapping. Interestingly enough one nurse at Stanford last month praised me for it. WOW, there's a first for everything. Oh no, wait... the EB expert guy in Italy once told me he wished all the parents wrapped like I did. Yes, 2 people believe in me. YES!! LOL ;-)

Moving Forward... for Greg, more of the same, we have more appointments for Loma Linda, but the super-duper Physical Therapy he NEEDS got denied by the insurance because they said it was NOT 'Medically Necessary'. RIGHT!!!! So now we'll have a talk with the local Physical Therapy because for them to give us a piece of paper and talk to us for 10 minutes of what we need to do is completely UNACCEPTABLE. He needs a full hour of someone working on him for goodness sakes!!!
For Nicky...   by the end of this month they will fit him for leg braces that are soft and fit over his bandages for him to sleep on to attempt to straighten his legs a bit or prevent further damage. His knees have had large wounds since he was 1 year old and have NEVER been wound-free, so he walks with a little bend at the knee joint.
We are still waiting to hear from Minnesota about Nicky being a candidate for the Bone Marrow Transplant. They have all the medical records that I could get my hands on so now everything is out of my hands. I am hopeful I should hear something before the end of next week. If Dr. Wagner decides Nicky can be a candidate we'll make arrangements for Nicky and I to fly out to Minneapolis for the evaluation, which will include tests, xrays and a full disclosure of what it will all entail. Provided all the tests come back OK I am hoping to be able to take Nicky to have the BMT sometime in the spring-early summer (we'll be gone about 4 months), provided Greg is more independent. I really worry about that! Somehow we'll muddle throught it.

I'll have another update, possibly at Caringbridge sometime in late July/early August for Nicky. The online school is planning an IEP to address any possible concerns, but I am already contemplating possibly quitting my job to fully concentrate on my school and be there for Nicky for his school when he needs me. So many things are up in the air right now, can't really plan too much ahead.

If you got to this point, thank you for reading and thank you for caring!!

Silvia and Family :-)
P.S. BTW, Connor is doing great, he's my joy and perennial cuddler, he helps me and both Nicky and Greg all the time. He's 6 going on 32. Will start 2nd grade next month!