Monday, May 27, 2013

Our last visit to Toronto

We had our last visit to Toronto last week and I found it a little bittersweet. Why? Well there are a million reasons. I also think that now is the best time to recount why we were going to Toronto in the first place. So here it goes...

When I was pregnant, they discovered at the 20 week ultrasound that Kaleb's left kidney was enlarged. So every 4 weeks or so, I had an ultrasound to measure it and be sure there was nothing else going on. At the 30 week one, it appeared to have returned to normal size and we breathed a sigh of relief.  

Then I went for my biophysical profile at 36 weeks and learned not only was his left kidney enlarged again, but it appeared his right one had a mass. But, my doctor remained optimistic and we decided to do an ultrasound on the baby once born. So, at just over one week old, Kaleb had the first of many ultrasounds and everything was confirmed and remained the same: enlarged left kidney and a mass on his right. This is when we were referred to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. 

Sick Kids is place you never ever want to go, that you never imagine yourself going to, nor do you wish it on anybody; BUT, if your child is sick, it is the best place in the world to be.  Our first appointment was scheduled for January 31st (my due date! ha!), and Kaleb was just under 3 weeks old. In the morning, he went for another ultrasound, followed by our appointment with Nephrology in the early afternoon. 

Our doctor in nephrology, Dr. P, was amazing. She explained everything about his enlarged kidney, telling us what part was enlarged, by how much and what it all meant. She basically said, that unless he is getting, or has signs of urine infection, that we have nothing to worry about and that we would see her in about 3 months for follow-up. However, for the mass she needed to refer us to Oncology. 

Yes, you read that right, oncology. The cancer people.

It is the stuff of nightmares and not what a new mother, actually any mother, wants to hear. 

And there we were, in the middle of it, fighting back tears. 

This is where the amazingness of Sick Kids comes into play. The oncology specialist that we needed to see is only there on Thursdays. We were there on a Tuesday. We came in from almost 1,000 km away. So what did they do? Told us to go grab a quick bite to eat, that the specialist would be coming down and would see us in less then an hour. 

And sure enough, 30 minutes later we were meeting with Dr. B. He explained everything to us about the mass, that it was in fact a very common type called a Neuroblastoma and that it was actually located on his adrenal gland. Turns out Dr. B is somewhat of a specialist in neuroblastomas and explained that in about 98% of cases, the mass disappears on its own by the time the child turns one. Kaleb's measured 3.1 cm and the plan of action was simple: to watch it. As long as it didn't grow, we were good. We needed to do an ultrasound at our home hospital in 6 weeks, followed by another ultrasound, urine test and follow-up appointment with Dr. B in another 6 weeks. 

And that is exactly what happened. Kaleb went for ultrasounds here, he went for ultrasounds in Toronto, we met with specialists in Toronto. We ended up going to Toronto a total of 7 times, to see either one of the specialists (plus an additional time to see an eye specialist - turns out everything was normal). Each time was the same, ultrasound followed by seeing the doctor. And each time the news was either the same or there was improvement: his mass was already down to 1.7 cm in May. 

We started looking forward to our trips to Toronto. Yes, we needed to spend a few hours at the hospital, but each trip was 2 or 3 days and we made the most of it. When one appointment fell during Jason's March break, we went for 4 days. We went to the ROM and met up with some other moms I "met" online. I was able to meet up with them on 2 other trips as well. It was nice, to relax and chat about our babies (who were all born within 3 weeks of each other). And we went shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. But that's to be expected when our only shopping option is Wal-mart!

Our January visit with Dr. B was supposed to be about surgery options, but he was pleased with the results and wanted to wait a little longer. He wanted to see what the ultrasound and urine tests would look like at our scheduled nephrology appointment in May. 

At this appointment, Dr. P said even though his kidney was still measuring as enlarged, she is no longer concerned. As long as he doesn't start getting urine infections, we go back to see her in a year. A whole year.

And then she told us the news that we had been waiting 16 months to hear: there was no mass. It was gone. Poof, presto! Just like a magic trick. As quickly as it appeared, it had disappeared.  

After our appointment, we met up with some of my mom friends at Riverdale Farm. Of course they were happy for us, but it also means that we won't get to see them until next year. And that is why it is bittersweet. Yes, there is no more doctor appointments and ultrasounds, but there is also no more meeting up with friends and going to the big city for mini-getaways. And no more shopping. I'll have to do it all online now, which lets face it, is just not as fun. 

But I am happy. Of course I am. My son is no longer "sick". We are done with the doctors and the ultrasounds and trying to get enough urine in one of those tiny bags. We are done with all of it, and for that I am grateful. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May Long

Around these parts, this weekend has several names: Victoria Day, May 2-4, May Run or what we usually refer to it: May Long. It's the first long weekend and the official start of the summer. Every year we spend the weekend fishing (fishing also opens) or camping (most parks also open), this year however we stayed home. 

Why? Several reasons actually. The biggest though: we are leaving for Toronto on Monday morning. So instead of camping, we spent the weekend doing spring cleaning projects. We are now exhausted, but are so glad with how much we got done. 

Saturday was beautiful here, so we started the day with fixing the outside water tap (which required a nice walk to the store), followed by making dessert for supper and washed the outside of the trailer. We also spent the last hour of the afternoon sitting outside and enjoying the nice weather, before heading to our friends house for supper (hence the dessert making) and it was fabulous.

Today was so crappy weather wise (reason #2 for not going camping), so we worked in the house. We cleaned out the fridge, the fridge freezer and our chest freezer. Then we worked in the disaster zone known as our basement. We really should have taken before and after pictures, but alas we didn't. It is starting to look really good though.  We also went for a ride checking out the stuff put out for cleaning week, unfortunately (or fortunately?) we didn't pick up anything.

Tomorrow morning we are heading to Toronto for Kaleb's check up and a bit of shopping. We'll be back late Wednesday night, so there won't be any menu this week. 

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cleaning and Mother's Day Snow

That is the best way to describe our weekend. 

Saturday was pretty great. Kaleb decided that 7 was a good time to wake up, which in the grand scheme isn't too shabby. After our showers, I cleaned. I did the bathroom, all the mirrors, then I decided to get a head start on next weekend's deep clean by doing all the windows on the inside. My dear husband tried to do some plumbing so we can have water flowing to our outside tap, however he was missing pieces that Kaleb hid! After a trip to all 3 stores in town, he came back home and tore apart the basement to find them in the bottom of a random box. Needless to say, by the time that was done, he ran out of time (and patience).
He loves the slide!

My mom took us out for lunch and upon our return, Jason decided to work a bit outside while we supervised :) After a trip to the compost site, supper was started.  Kaleb also got spoiled (as usual) when our neighbours came over to ask us if we wanted their swing set! 

Sunday however, was sad. It snowed. On Mother's Day. It's incredibly depressing to wake up on a Sunday in MAY to complete whiteness. Not just a little snow on the ground. Nope, white stuff everywhere. Oh well, I suppose it's to be expected when Mother Nature is 3 weeks behind. 

We didn't let it beat us though. First off, my hubby is awesome. When Kaleb woke up, he told me to stay in bed, to which I asked that he wake me up in 45 minutes. When they came to wake me up, he gave me a post-it note telling me to take it easy and spend time with my boy for the day, he would take care of everything. Then during breakfast he gave me my gifts: a beautiful flower pot with their hand prints painted on and a key chain! 

After church (during which Kaleb behaved amazingly), he took me out for a yummy brunch, then we headed home for family nap time! Jason watched TV though, but I had an awesome nap and so did Kaleb.  He then prepared and cooked a great supper for us. 

To sum up the day: I have the best husband ever and the most adorable child! :)

Hope you had an great weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing mommies!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

This Week's Menu

Last week was pretty good as usual, even the crockpot meals. It's one thing we are looking forward to be over when Kaleb is done this round of lessons. My poor hubby is sick and tired of them! Taco night was fantastic, so much so that we're having it again this week and I can't wait! The pizza was pretty awesome too. 

This week's menu:

Saturday: Pork chops with baked potatoes

Sunday: Steak with mushrooms and shrimp, sliced bbq potatoes, potato skins and vegetable skewers

Monday: BBQ Chicken thighs with oven fries

Tuesday: Crockpot pork roast with rice

Wednesday: Taco night! (Marinated Chicken and Steak with Mango Avocado Salsa, lettuce, cheese and sour cream)

Thursday: Taco Salad (We cook the meat the night before, then we just need to take 2 minutes to reheat in the skillet, works great!)

Friday: Pizza

Hope you have a fantastic week food wise :)

Sunday, May 05, 2013

It's Spring!

Spring has FINALLY arrived in the great white north!! Obviously we have the name for a reason, but this year winter overstayed it's welcome. We are about 3 weeks behind and it seriously sucks. The good news: it only took about one week for the last foot of snow to disappear.

Yes, I just said last foot. We had roughly 3.5 feet of snow this year. How do we know this?

See that black spot? That is our composter. Notice how there is snow all the way to the top of it? Depressing, yes?

But the really good news: it's gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL GONE!!!!!!!!!!! 

And since it spring, it means one thing around here: spring cleaning. Which is exactly what we did this weekend. We got lots done, all while enjoying the warm weather. 

Kaleb and Jason raked all the yard while I was at work. They also installed the rain barrel (look for a post this week about that) and organized the garage. I was even able to vacuum, clean the house this morning and get a couple loads of laundry done before heading to work. 

All in all it was an awesome weekend, and we can't wait for many more to come this summer!

I leave you now with my adorable child munching on a lime while waiting for supper. 

Friday, May 03, 2013

This week's menu

Last week was pretty good. The Chicken thighs turned out to not be boneless, but were still delicious; and I amazed myself with my stew. Friday we ended up having Chinese and it was yum. 

This week's menu:

Saturday: Hamburgers with oven fries

Sunday: Tacos (it is Cinco de Mayo after all)

Monday: Big Fat Question Mark. I'll be out of town for a course, Jason will be arriving late from a meeting so he'll just eat whatever when he gets home. Luckily Kaleb's babysitter will give him supper, which I'm sure will be good!

Tuesday: Crockpot chicken and rice goulash

Wednesday: Sausage and potatoes on the BBQ

Thursday: Crockpot spaghetti sauce and noodles

Friday: Homemade pizza! (I have a renewed obsession)