Saturday, December 29, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Change Focus

This last month I keep having to remind myself that we are not the typical family. God has us on this road for a purpose and for His will. My husband and I are 30 and we have 3 kids. We don't own a home, we still use furniture from college dorm days and our newest vehicle is 12 years old. Our families live far away. The friends we make come and go each year. ALL thanks to this crazy life in medicine. Some days I get self absorbed and I wish we had stuff. But it's just stuff. The month of November is adoption awareness month. There are roughly 153 million orphans in the world today. I get overwhelmed thinking about that number. What I know is that I can help one orphan. What can you do for one orphan? Some places that are doing amazing things for orphans are Holt InternationalShow Hope, and New Day Foster Home. There are many ways you can donate to help care for orphans through these places. Another way to help is to support a family who is in the process of adopting a child. Whatever it is, I want to encourage you to find ONE way you can help ONE orphan this month. If you are starting early holiday shopping consider buying gifts from Olivetree Promise where funds raised go to families raising money to bring home their child.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Our third child was born less than two weeks after graduation. She was two weeks early and had to have emergency surgery at three days old for jejunal atresia. We had no idea there was any problem during the pregnancy. The fifteen days that followed were the longest of my life. Our tiny girl stayed in the NICU, unable to eat until she had a bowel movement. Parents were not allowed to sleep overnight there. Leaving her each night was gut wrenching. I felt guilty. When she finally pooped we were thrilled and she progressed without hitch. She was discharged on one temporary medication and was breast feeding perfectly.
Things were moving along with our family getting used to being resident status instead of student and having three children. I was balancing taking my oldest to preschool twice a week and the new baby. She didn't sleep well and I always had to bounce her upright on a yoga ball after feedings to get her to burp without spitting up. I was about to give her a bath one afternoon when she was five and a half months old and she threw up a large amount of what looked like poop. yellow, seedy, frothy emesis. I freaked out and called the hubs who reassured me that if she did in fact throw up poop, she would be looking near death. I made an appointment with her pediatrician.
Over the next month we ran many tests looking for celiac disease, allergies, cystic fibrosis, etc. All of these came up negative. My baby girl started throwing up much more frequently. It was violent. Heave after heave every time emptying the entire contents of her stomach. If she coughed I ran her quickly to the sink or toilet so she could vomit. I watched my now six month old grow a large distended abdomen and fall off the growth chart. I felt helpless, and I felt like nobody knew how to help her. It wasn't until I was on a plane ride that I saw a man reading a paper a couple rows ahead of me. At the top was a picture of a starving infant from Africa. I gasped as I recognized that my sweet girl looked exactly like that picture. I made an appointment with the surgeon and pediatric gastroenterology doctor. February 15, 2012, my now eight month old who weighed 11 pounds was admitted to the hospital to start total parenteral nutrition (TPN) in order to gain enough weight to be able to survive surgery.
We didn't know what the surgeon would find. There were many times over those months that I thought I would lose my daughter. My parents and in-laws took turns staying with my other children while we spent 18 days in the hospital. Praise the Lord, the surgery was a success. Her intestine had been so dilated that it was kinking itself off causing her to throw up everything she would eat. They tapered the intestine that had stretched out down to the same size as the rest of it so it wouldn't continue to kink. We were discharged on March 3, 2012 in the evening with a PICC line in her tiny arm, and she threw up again. I was devastated. All I could think was that maybe the surgery hadn't fixed her and that she would have to struggle for as long as she could survive. How was this happening? We prayed. Many people prayed. She didn't throw up the next day, or the next day, or the next. Thank you God! I hooked my baby's PICC up to TPN every day for six weeks. She gained nine pounds and had no complications. Today she is happy and healthy and I thank God every day for her.
I have to say that now we are three months into second year of residency and it is a BREEZE compared to last year! Mark works long hours. I take care of the kids and the home by myself quite often. BUT, my child is healthy. We are all together.
Distended belly
 gaining weight for surgery
 a few days after surgery
 night time from my cot
 home on TPN
 getting bigger
 picc will come out soon

Psalm 71:5 "For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Southern California Ortho!

We are staying local for our residency! Match was full of adrenaline, and I have some great memories of friends jumping, screaming, crying when they opened their letters. It was a good time and it feels so good to be moving on to the next step in this medical life journey!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"St. Matchrick's Day"

So, so, so happy it's finally here. My wife friends and I went and got wonderful pedicures this morning after picking up Starbucks. It was so nice to just TRY and relax a little bit before really thinking about what is happening tomorrow. I'm so proud of my husband. There are so many emotions running through me (elevated since I'm preggo) that I know I'm going to at least tear up tomorrow no matter what happens. I'm comforted knowing that we matched into orthopedic surgery, and no matter the location, Mark will be doing what he loves.
5 years of our life is a big deal now that we have children. Our kids will go from toddlers and just being born, (I'm due with the 3rd in June) to upper elementary age! They will do a lot of changing and growing in those 5 years. Tomorrow is a very big day.
My in-laws are here to witness the match ceremony. After we open the envelope I have a bunch of phone calls and text messages to send! 17 hours to go...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Match in 6 days

It has been about a year since my last entry and boy has a lot happened! Over the summer Mark went on two away rotations that were both 4 weeks long. I was able to stay with my parents while he was away. During his first rotation we were able to see him a couple times a week. Our friends let us stay with them as we needed. (They live 40 minutes from where Mark was rotating) The second rotation was much farther away and we were unable to see Daddy. It was a long and difficult summer, but worth it. Orthopedics is definitely Mark's passion.

September was difficult as far as making sure our applications to residency were complete and sent off properly. With Mark so busy at his away rotations it was hard for him to do this on his own so I helped quite a bit. If you are planning on doing away rotations right before/during September 1st of application year make sure you've planned ahead and have mostly finished the ERAS application and letters of recommendation. Also, there are quite a few orthopedic programs that require supplemental forms to be filled out by your letter of recommendation writers. Research this carefully and make sure your LOR writers get these forms in time! Once applications were complete and sent we waited. I followed the forums on orthogate to see when people around the country received offers of interviews. This helped me to know that either we hadn't heard anything from a program but many other people had OR that I didn't need to freak out yet about not hearing from a program because nobody else had either!

It wasn't until October 20th that we received our first offer to interview at a program. About 6 days before that we discovered we were pregnant with our 3rd baby! It was a pretty exciting week. For the next few months I was constantly checking the computer for interview offers and notifying Mark immediately when they came so we could schedule them. In orthopedics, if you don't respond to offers very quickly you may not get the date that works best for you to interview. You might even lose your interview spot altogether! It was busy, and stressful. On top of that flights, hotels, and rental cars had to be reserved. All the while, you still have responsibilities to finish your classes of 4th year!

It wasn't until the first week of February that our last interview was finished. Creating a rank list was the next task at hand. Every program has pros and cons so this took considerable amount of thought and prayer. The deadline for rank list finality was February 23rd. Since then, we have been "patiently" waiting for this upcoming week to arrive. In 3 days we will be notified of a match or no match status. In 6 days, if we match, we'll have breakfast at 8am with classmates and open our envelope at 9am. The location and program for our family's next 5 years decided!

The year definitely has gone quickly, but has not been as relaxing as most people claim 4th year to be. We're excited for the upcoming changes. Residency, and a new baby! Let's do this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Think We're Getting The Hang Of This

OB/GYN coming to an end! This rotation really hasn't been bad at all! Our whole family is more used to the strange surgical hours. Mark was getting up anywhere between 3:45 and 4:45 am while on the surgical part of OB/GYN. When he was on call those days he wouldn't get home until after 7:30pm so there were a few stints where the kids would go almost 48 hours without seeing daddy. The first couple times were hard for them. I always tell them who daddy is helping at "work" and that he will give them a kiss when he gets home. I'm glad that they are so understanding about this because I know we'll experience a lot of these stretches in an ortho residency. The kids love asking Mark about what he does at the hospital. I'm proud to be able to tell them that daddy helping others is the reason he is missing time with them. The life of medicine really has to be a calling, esp when you have a family.

My son is almost fully potty trained during the day! Yes! Not only that but my 15 month old daughter tells me once or twice daily that she needs to go too...and she does! It makes me excited to know that possibly by the end of summer I could have two potty trained children, and NO MORE DIAPERS!!!!!! :)

Next week Mark starts a two week elective in ortho surgery. He's going to have a blast I already know. After that we dive into 12 weeks of surgery. 6 weeks of general surgery and 6 weeks of specialties. Now, I've got to find his passport so that he can go on a flight to pick up donor organs if there is extra room. I hope I can find that thing!