Monday, January 21, 2013

Ballet 101

I'm a Baweena!

Last week our little swan took her first dance class (run around and swing your arms class) and she obviously loved it. She followed along with all of the exercises such as "Hello toes, Goodbye toes", "Put on your tiara and skip" as well as my personal favourite "Pick up flowers, smell them and then throw them in the air".

She had a great time and it was a great way to exercise. A few more weeks of these classes and she'll be as good as (insert famous ballerina here).


P.S. Emma the spectator was very proud of her big sister.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guest Post: Heather Von St. James

Last week I was contacted by Heather who has a blog herself about her story. She had asked if I would be interested in her writing a guest post on my blog in order to share her story. I read through her blog about her dealing with Mesothelioma as a Mom and agreed wholeheartedly to include a post made by her. I encourage anyone viewing to read her story below as well as visit her blog to raise  awareness.

A link to her blog: Heather Von St. James - Courageous Mother, Wife and Survivor of Mesothelioma

Dealing with Mesothelioma as a Mom

When I was just 36 years old, my life took a very different and unexpected toll. My husband and I had recently welcomed our newborn daughter, Lily, into the world. Lily blessed us with her presence on August 4th, 2005. During those first moments of her life, we could feel the love in the room, as both my parents and my husband’s parents came to visit us after the birth of our little girl. It was times like these when I felt nothing could bring us down. However, it seems as though this was just the calm before the storm.

After giving birth to Lily, I ended up heading back to work, but that is when I started noticing a few things that were going on. I constantly felt tired and I never felt like I had any energy. These are things that people often associate with being a new mom anyway, so I actually didn’t think too much of it at first. I also realized I was losing a significant amount of weight, totaling nearly 7 pounds per week. I finally decided to take a trip to my doctor’s office, and found out things were much worse than I ever could have imagined.

It was November 21, 2005 and our daughter, Lily, was 3 ½ months, when I received the diagnosis from the doctor. My doctor informed me that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma, which is cancer. Even worse, he told me that if I were to not get treatment, I would only have about 15 months to live. I ended up with this cancer because when I was a child, I had been exposed to asbestos, which can lead to mesothelioma in the future. Upon receiving the diagnosis, all I could do was think of Lily and how I needed to survive for her, and for my husband. It was then that I made the decision to go along with whatever treatment was going to keep me alive.

The procedure that I needed to receive was quite drastic to say the least. I had to fly down to Boston to meet with a doctor who specializes in treating mesothelioma. During the surgery, my entire left lung had to be removed. It took me slightly over two weeks to recover just from the surgery. I had to continue to recover to prepare for both chemo and radiation. I was trying to do all of this and still be a mom to my daughter. During my time in Boston, my parents took care of the responsibility of Lily. They were doing what they could to raise her, and were also receiving support from people in the neighborhood. It was the support of our family and kind people that kept me going.

As my daughter was living with my parents, she started to reach all of her milestones, many of which I missed. However, my parents were kind enough to snap pictures, and my husband would always show them to me. When I saw the pictures, I was really happy and I kept telling myself that Lily is reason that I am trying my best to beat this cancer. It’s been almost 7 years now and there is no sign of my cancer. I travel to Boston for scans every 6 months. It’s a lot to anxiety and sometimes anger to deal with, but it has changed my outlook on life for the better.
My husband and I, along with Lily and my parents, are constantly taking things one step at a time. We have accepted the obstacles thrown in our way and the challenges that life has put in our path, but have also realized that good things can come out of negative things. With that said, I will always be thankful for the supportive people we have had stand by us throughout this entire ordeal.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Emma's First Christmas/Night of the Living Stomach Flu

Well that was a Christmas that we will never forget.

Livi's Birthday was also the first day of my holidays from work. Olivia woke up in the morning to a brand new dollhouse completely assembled and ready for her to play with. (Thanks to her mother and I spending three hours assembly the bloody thing the night before). It stands about 4 feet tall and boasts wooden furniture including bathtub, canopy bed, kitchen table and a grand piano. Oh and it also has an elevator to suit wheelchair access or just the lazy Barbie's.

Like last year, Livi received a shout-out on the news.

After breakfast and a visit from Nana and Auntie Rachel, we drove out to Port Coquitlam to try a new play area called Kinder-Cafe. Lots of stuff to do and play with. Livi had a ball and played with all sorts of kitchens, play-houses, ride-on cars and even a bouncy castle.

For dinner we dined at the lovely Big Ridge Brewery where we met Nana and Grumpy. After dinner, the Livster received a special dessert, singing waiters and a confetti cannon. Then to top it all off someone made her a balloon animal. A great night for our little girl.

Then the trouble started. Friday night at around midnight Sam and I were up talking and we Livi threw up in her bed. We cleaned up and she threw up multiple times after that. After calling my Mom to come over and look over Emma, we took Livi to the hospital. The doctor checked her out and determined it was the stomach flu. She was to take Gravol and get her rest. We made it back home around 4am and put her to bed. 

She woke up the next day feeling great. Sam did not however. To keep Emma separated from Livi, Nana BB came to help. I took Emma for the day out of the house running errands and Livi stayed at home for a day with Nana. Later at night once Sam started feeling better she came downstairs and we all sat around. Shortly before bedtime, Livi threw up again. Emma went to off to Nana and Gaga's for isolation. We cleaned up and put Livi to bed.

The next day, once again, she woke up fine and so did Sam.It was now my turn. I won't go in to the details but it was not pleasant. Nana BB came to help since I was upstairs in quarantine. Livi was great all day until near bedtime and she puked. Same thing. Sam took her to the hospital again and the doctor tested her urine and nothing serious. Just a sensitive stomach. Back home and to bed. However now it was Nana BB's turn.

Morning of Christmas Eve, Livi's good, Sam's good, I'm good, Emma still good. The day was spent cleaning up and disinfecting our house. Everyone eating properly and getting plenty of fluids. Bedtime, we put out Santa's cookies and pint of Guinness (note: The Nutley household in no way encourages drinking and driving. Drink responsibly) Livi goes to bed while visions of sugar plums danced in her head....Then she puked. We took it as a sign of eating too much since it was only a little bit. Change her sheets and back to bed.

Christmas morning I'm the first awake at 7am. Jump in the shower and give Emma a bottle. (who during all of this commotion is just an angel and delight and couldn't be happier). We make our way into Olivia's room and wake her up with takes a lot of convincing. She was still feeling under the weather and had no idea Santa came to our house and left presents downstairs. Finally we get her up and when she sees her new pink car her mood completely changes. Excitedly she jumps in and wants to go for a ride.

We open all of their presents and head over to Nana and Gaga's for Christmas Day.We had a wonderful day with our my parents, Auntie Rachel, Uncle JP, Auntie Sheila, Uncle Patrick, Uncle Pete, Haydn and Alicia. Livi was still not 100% so she spent the day in her pajamas sleeping and cuddling but she came around a bit once her new microphone came out and she sang Twinkle, Twinkle to everyone. Emma was passed around to cuddle with everyone and was very happy and friendly on her first Christmas.

The next day we woke up early and drove down to have a second Christmas with Auntie Daryl, Uncle Alex, Beckett, Nana and Grumpy. Lots more fun and family times playing with toys. Livi was much closer to her usual self. Auntie Kinsey also came over for a visit and brought presents.

After a few days at home everyone was back to normal. We enjoyed our time off together going for walks and watching movies. New Years Eve was low key but lots of fun. Liv and I made a trip to the pub for a drink and visit.

Even Emma was excited. 

So after all of that the holidays were over. One we will definitely never forget.