Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins



Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins

I have been reading a lot of nonfiction lately and when I had the chance to read a novel I was happy to have the opportunity. There is always something fun for me to get into fiction and enclose myself in a new world. Double Blind really took me to an interesting place that could actually happen in the not-too-distant future.

Lisa Newberry needs help. She is a young widow, victim of a life-threatening attack, and suffering from severe depression. She applies for a medical trial offering possible relief and is accepted. A microchip is implanted in her brain that emits electrical pulses allowing her the gift of a new and brighter future. But that's not all, Lisa suddenly begins to experience paralyzing images of a brutal murder. Still trying to move on with her life, she needs to find out why this is happening, if it is real, and what she can do to help. In doing so Lisa puts her own life in danger.

This was a fast-paced and exciting book! Collins made her characters come to life with all their complex personal issues and desires to make the right choices. At first I was a little put off with the character of Lisa's friend, Sherry. I wasn't quite sure what role in the plot she really had but as the story moved on I would understand her importance. Lisa's mother was probably my favorite supporting character. She seemed very real and easy to imagine.

During the entire book I was trying to figure out who was involved only to be kept guessing. There were twists I wasn't expecting at all! The images of the murder were not gory and gross and were presented in a dream-like way and I imaged them as flashes sort of fading in and out. Lisa gets a grip on her faith during these times of struggle but God was not a push front, in your face piece of the book. It seemed normal and natural for her to rely on her beliefs, not forced. When this zooming roller-coaster of a novel ended I was satisfied on how things resolved but at the same time felt uneasy that this type of technology is just on the horizon. It definitely gave me something to think about.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Growth Stimulation Test

This past week I got to spend several hours in the Children's Hospital.

It's okay. Nobody was hurt... William had a growth stimulation test.

Let me back up:

When we were in the hardcore part of dealing with William's diagnosis and doctors wanting to find out if anything else was going on or if there was a cause to Will's apraxia, he had an MRI done. On that MRI they discovered a small pituitary glad. We went to an endocrinologist in Albuquerque who ran some blood tests (which all came back fine) and did a bone growth scan. On the bone growth scan, William was only a few months behind where he should be -- his body was only a little younger than his actual age. We checked in a couple more times with the endocrinologist for follow-ups but she said that although Will is small he is okay.

Now we are in Ohio and part of moving here is having re-checks with the specialists for Will. Off we go to the local endocrinologist.

He reviews Will's case and we talk more about what's going on. The doctor takes in all our information, looks over what the other endocrinologist has done, and shows us some stuff that is all doctor-y.

There is apparently a special little calculation to show how tall a child should be when he is full grown. I'm not sure of everything but it's along the lines of taking the height of the mother and adding five inches and averaging it against the father, or something like that. Blah, blah. The doc said that Will should be around 5'10" when he is an adult. With this established there is a growth curve that Will should be following -- he's not in the right place. He is nearly a year behind from where he should be.

We had another bone scan and received the results today. William's bones show the age of a 3 1/2 year old, not the 4 1/2 year old that he is. This is good news! That means Will likely has an extra year of growing. It also means he'll also likely hit puberty a year behind his peers. But that's okay too since we're probably holding him back a year and starting kindergarten late. (That's a topic for another post)

The next step, which we have now already completed, was to get a growth stimulation test to see how much of the growth hormone Will produces and how his body responds to it.

Ryan stayed home with Alanna so it was just me and my boy. We had to show up at the hospital before 7 am and settle into our room. Will was given an IV (which he really did not like) and at 8 am they took some blood. Apparently that is when your body naturally has the highest levels of growth hormone. Then we had to wait because somebody didn't put in the prescription for the medication...
hanging out in our little room, IV in place
Once the medication arrived Will had to take something orally and another was put through the IV. I'll be honest, I'm not exactly sure what it was or what it was supposed to do, but the nurses had to come in every 20 minutes for the first hour to draw blood and then every 30 minutes for the second hour. This blood will be tested to see what his hormone levels do and whatever else they're supposed to test.

So we were in the hospital for quite awhile. Will did not like those nurses messing with his IV to take blood but we figured out a method for me to keep him calm. Then he slept for most of the testing after that and I got to finish a book I am reviewing. Once we finished up the test they had to be sure Will could keep down food... but he dozed off again so we had to wait. Then he ate and we could go home.

I had brought a bag full of things I know he liked to play with from home but the highlight for Will was the special remote control he could push buttons and make the TV and room lights turn off and on. Of course.
Will and the remote
Now we get to wait a couple weeks before we have results back. From there we will find out what the plan will be.


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Working a therapy schedule

Sometimes I feel like we just need to move in at Will's place of therapy. I feel like we have to be there enough to warrant room and board!
not at therapy, but here are the kids putting their letter puzzle together
Before Will started school, all his therapy was in the afternoon. That gave me time to attend play groups, do lunch, run errands, go to the gym, anything I needed to get done I could get done early in the day. Then Will started school and was placed in a later class so all of his therapies had to be moved to the morning... therefore causing trauma to my schedule.

We are finally starting to settle. I have to drive out to the nearby town 3 days a week. Thirty-minute speech sessions twice a week and an hour of Physical Therapy followed immediately by an hour of Occupational Therapy once a week.

This past week we finally had Will's feeding evaluation and we're going to attempt to just graft that into his other sessions.

We are getting known there. The secretary enjoys my kids arriving and both of them adore sitting with her "helping" and coloring her some pictures. Many of the therapists have worked with William individually so they are all welcoming and friendly. I'm getting to know some of the other parents/children/nurses that have the same appointment times so we have a sort of camaraderie.

I will say that our transition from afternoons to mornings did not go smoothly. The location we go to is popular and they have many great therapists. I was on the waiting list for PT and OT and we had to get a different SLP for one of our sessions. We wanted to keep Jessica (SLP) for both sessions but absolutely nothing was open on her schedule. She talked with me and asked me flat out when was the best time. I told her. It was a specific day at a specific time so I could still attend a weekly meeting... and it was definitely not available.

I'll be honest, I was bummed because my weekly appointment is important to me. So I did what I usually do when things aren't going smoothly -- I prayed.

The following week at our appointment Jessica came up to me and said, "you'll never guess what appointment just became available!" Yup, the very one I wanted. Isn't that awesome?! The family randomly brought up that the time wasn't working and they needed something else. A perfect solution.

Now I'm starting to figure out how to plan my days since we're on a regular therapy schedule again. I'm getting in gym time, bible study, errands, board meetings, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, church activities, direct sales parties, AFIT Spouses outings, play times, and date nights. Still trying to squeeze in more of my personal leisure activities like sewing and reading but I'm not doing so great at that right now. This probably also explains why I haven't been posting very often.

Oh, and apparently while talking with my PWOC ladies they all said that I am a busy woman. I was trying to say that I'm not THAT busy but I realized that I actually am.


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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review: By Faith, Not By Sight by Scott MacIntyre


By Faith, Not By Sight: The Inspirational Story of a Blind Prodigy, a Life-Threatening Illness, & an Unexpected Gift -- by Scott MacIntyre with Jennifer Schuchmann

I had originally debated on if I wanted to read this book. I mean, another American Idol contestant? It seems overdone. But for some reason it intrigued me. Even though I no longer watch the show I remembered this guy-- I had actually liked him and that season was one of the last I actually kept up with. Why not find out more?

I'm so glad I did! Scott's story is truly fascinating. It's not about some blind guy making his dreams come true by a breakthrough on a television show, his life began long before that. Born blind. Gifted pianist. Graduated college at 19. Marshall scholar accepted to Oxford and Cambridge. Scott had to work hard for his achievements, but his loving and supportive family helped strengthen him through challenges. Their united faith in God during the good and bad times is a testimony in itself.

Right when it seems Scott is ready for all his dreams to come true and hard work to pay off he is slammed with a diagnosis that puts his life in jeopardy. Only through an amazing gift is Scott able to survive and live his life. He continues to pursue a music career and eventually makes it on American Idol.

This was an enjoyable read. I had a hard time putting it down and read it quickly. My only complaint is that it sometimes seemed repetitive on certain ideas, but that was easily overlooked. I found it inspirational and encouraging. You could feel the love Scott had for his family as well as the angst and sorrow in the hard times. This will have you crying on one page and smiling on the next. A great read for somebody going through the hard times or anyone looking for something uplifting.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Blogger Block

It seems that every time I log onto blogger I find myself staring at a blinking cursor. That darn thing is really starting to tick me off!

I am still in my blogging rut and I apologize for the infrequent posts. There have been plenty of experiences for me to write about -- parks, Will's therapy and school updates, health things, new recipes, my mother-in-law visiting, Bible study, Ryan and I going to King's Island Amusement Park, book reviews, the beautiful autumn, car problems, crafts and sewing... lots of life has been happening.

When I log into my site I face the same things I've been personally debating about for some time now -- changing the title, moving to WordPress, purchasing a url, using more anonymity (especially for my kiddos), and re-doing the design. I just don't know what to do!

Until decisions are made I will try to put more effort into my writing.

But I did want to share a random thing: I saw an albino squirrel the other day. I thought that was pretty cool. Of course I totally did not move fast enough to get a picture of the thing.

Oh... and I'm totally missing this right now in Albuqueruqe.


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