Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Weekly Getaway

Finally, after waiting on pins and needles since the end of May to find out what happens next, my favorite TV show premieres tonight: 

I'm one of those people who loves to simply forget about life by getting caught up in my favorite shows.  I've seen every episode, I watch every USA marathon.  I LOVE this show.  I love every character.  It's well written, the characters are funny, and have wonderful storylines.  I've even included NCIS quotes at the bottom of my blog!

Here's to Tuesday, the best thing about Tuesday!!!

Did I mention that I love this show?!!!?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our Sweet Miracle Baby Boy

In March of 2006 we discovered that we were pregnant.   The idea of being pregnant terrified me because of my seizure disorder.  Almost all anti-seizure medication is a category C or D, which means that it's very harmful to a growing baby, and can cause many developmental problems.  Needless to say, we took me off the most harmful meds, and that scared me even more because now there was the possibility of having more seizures.

In April I miscarried, and it was at that moment that I realized that I really WANTED to be pregnant.  For the most part, the fear of the unknown left my mind.

In June I was pregnant again.  Since I was considered a "high risk" pregnancy, I was given ultrasounds every few weeks.  So, where most women are only lucky enough to get two or three pictures, I have about twelve...at least there's one benefit to having a seizure disorder!!

I don't remember much of the pregnancy, since my seizure disorder has really screwed around with my memory over the years.  I know that I LOVED my maternity clothes though!  It was difficult to recall certain events, and unfortunately my pregnancy was one of those events. 
Giving birth was no easy task.  I had a horrible OBGYN who was more worried about his schedule and getting me delivered before his vacation started, than actually being my doctor.  I was about four days overdue when Nick and I were told to go to the hospital.  I was put on pitosin for quite a few hours, and even though nothing was happening, no dilating at all, my horrible OB decided to break my water to "commit" me to having to stay there.  The baby WAS NOT ready at all, and breaking my water was one of the most horrific things that's ever happened to me.  My mother, who has been an Operating Room technician and has seen many awful things was in tears after my "doctor" broke my water.

The Epidural was next.  I was happy to have someone do this who'd been doing it for 20 years.  I thought this would be a lucky break for me since I'd heard that getting the epidural was quite painful.  It was!!  This lady had to stick me THREE times to get the needle in the right place.  She later told me that in 20 years, I was her hardest stick.  I'm so honored!

26 hours after entering the hospital, Brandon Nicholls Toale was born via C-section, weighing 7lbs, 11oz, and 19 inches long.  He was COMPLETELY healthy, with no signs of developmental problems at all.  Where a lot of women would rather give birth vaginally, I was very grateful to have had a C-section.  My body wouldn't have been able to handle pushing a baby and it probably would've thrown me into a ton of seizures.  Plus, I had the coolest man administering the local anesthetic.  He asked me what kind of music I wanted to hear, so they blasted the Beatles!!

Daddy with his new little man!

Grandma with her new favorite grandson!!

Our little, perfect baby

I discovered that when there's something very important to take care of, your body heals quickly!  My recovery was swift, which surprised everyone.  There was a silent fear that my seizure disorder wouldn't allow me to take care of Brandon the way a mother should:  I stunned everyone again with how attentive I was.

Brandon will be four next March and continues to simply thrive.  He is mentally and physically perfect, showing no side effects from the medication that I was on.  He simply is a miracle baby.

Ooo Daddy, whatever you're saying I'm lovin' it!

Look at that smile!


Who doesn't love their bath time?

Mowing the lawn with Grandma

People have asked me if I want to have more children.  I would love to have more children, but it simply isn't healthy for me or another unborn child.  I'm healthier now than I've ever been and I truly believe that we were blessed to have received this sweet, healthy spirit.  Tempting fate wouldn't be wise at all.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vagus Nerve Stimu-what???

In 1999 I was up at BYU-Idaho when one day during lunch I had a grand mal seizure.  Bless the heart of my wonderful roommate, she didn't freak out too much, as I'm sure it was a scary site to see.

I was taken to the local hospital and doctors thought that I had a brain tumor.  Most people don't have grand mal seizures at the age of 19 for no reason.  After an MRI it was discovered that I have a brain lesion that extends through the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobe of the right side of my brain.  Basically when my brain was forming, it didn't "close" all the way, and left a lesion.  Doctors were stunned it took so long for me to have a seizure since it was inevitable.  So, I wasn't dying from a brain tumor, but I would be on anti-seizure medication and I would have to deal with seizures the rest of my life....oh fun.

I wasn't diagnosed with epilepsy, and thankfully my seizures were usually not grand mal; the type that leave you unconscious and thrashing around.  I was aware when my seizures were coming, having an "aura", or being able to sense when they were coming. 

In 2002 my situation looked pretty bad.  I was having seizures all of the time, making it not only difficult to complete college, but making it difficult for me to even want to leave the house by myself.  When I had a seizure I would just sort of "zone out".  You could be having a conversation with me and I would look normal, but I wouldn't answer you and I'd have no idea what had been going on until  I "snapped out of it".  I would wander off and no one would know where I was.  I'd "snap out" of my seizure wondering how the heck I got wherever I was!  Needless to say, my driver's license was taken away, a blow that was so difficult to deal with at the time....that was my independence.

My mother found a wonderful neurologist who told us about a Vagus Nerver Stimulator.  Basically it's a pacemaker for my brain, that sends off electric "shocks" every few minutes to my brain.  It's one of the most phenonmenal devices I've ever heard of, and to try and describe all it does would be difficult.  For more information, see the link here . This was sort of a "last hope" before my doctor decided to put me on disability for the rest of my life.  I DID NOT WANT this at all, so I had the surgery.

During the next few years I felt like I was digressing back into childhood.  I wasn't able to do things for myself, needing a ride everywhere I went.  For a woman who was 22-25 years old, that was embarrassing.  The VNS device helped a lot, but in no way did it solve my medical problems.  I had to be at least 6 months seizure free before I could get my license back...it took a LONG time to earn that baby back, but I finally did a few years ago.  Even after once again having my license, I was terrified to drive for quite some time.

2007 was a very hard year for my seizures, which were basically out of control.  My medication wasn't working, as it needs to be changed every few years since your body adapts to it, and stress was bringing on more seizures than ever.  My mom (have I mentioned that she's been my medical Savior?!?) was able to get me referred to UCSF and to the most wonderful doctor on the planet.  She perscribed a new medication for me and in December of this year it will be THREE YEARS since I've had a seizure!! 

This is the first time in 11 years that I feel completely in control of my health.  I don't fear seizures, or driving, or going to work.  I'm very aware that at any time my body could start having the seizures again, and I know that they will never go away, but for now, I can at least breathe a little easier.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The California Budget: I'm Having a Heart Attack!

I need to vent for a moment:
California has hit a milestone:  today is the LONGEST time the state has gone without having a budget signed and passed.  Normally I could truly care less about the budget, but this year it effects me in a tremendous way:  We rely on a county program that helps with daycare assistance and if the budget isn't passed by September 30, 2010, we will loose that assistance.  This means that I will have to quit working because we can't afford to pay for Brandon's daycare.

If that wasn't rotten enough, I read in an article this afternoon that all the idiots in the Senate are PUSHING to cut the daycare assistance programs!  Do they not realize that if they cut that important program, thousands of people will be in my situation:  they will have to quit their jobs, and seek more welfare benefits?  We're doing EVERYTHING WE CAN to STAY OUT FROM UNDER THE GOVERNMENT, to DO IT OURSELVES.   How does this help "The Golden State"? 

I'm counting down the days, hoping my mother is right when she tries to reassure me that this happens every year, that the budget always passes.  Now, not only do I have to worry about it passing on time, but I have to worry about whether or not they cut the program.

I LOVE my job, and Brandon LOVES school! 

If any of you find the chance, please email Senator Denham and demand this budget crisis be over, and that the daycare assistance program not be cut!
Senator Denham <Senator.denham@sen.ca.gov>;

For all of you who don't live in California:  YOU ARE SO VERY LUCKY!!

Okay, venting is now over!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Next David Beckham??

This summer Grandma enrolled Brandon in "Kidz Love Soccer", where kids and their parents (and grandparents) learn the basics of how to play soccer.  Brandon has loved it and today was his last day.  Brandon was the oldest of the kids there, and one of the most enthusiastic (on most days). 

Each Saturday morning for the past two months Grandma would come and play with us too, and while Brandon loved that, what he really loved the most were the gifts that Grandma would bring with her each Saturday.  One Saturday she had candy in her car, another Saturday, silly puddy.  Brandon would ask me each morning what present Grandma would have in her car!

So, you tell me, does Brandon look like the next David Beckham?

To practice scoring goals, we take turns spreading our legs while the other person kicks the soccer ball through them.  Brandon would spread his legs so far apart that he often would fall flat on his bottom!

Go Brandon, Go!

Oh, that sweet smile melts my heart!!

A Day of Remembrance

I will never forget where I was on September 11, 2001.  While attending CSU Stanislaus, I had a morning off from work before class was to begin.  I turned on the television and the South Tower had just been hit.  I couldn't keep my eyes off of what was happening, I was just so stunned.  I remember thinking about going to class, but then the North Tower was hit and I decided that I wouldn't go, and figured the majority of the college that knew about it wouldn't be attending class either.  (I was right, most of the classes were cancelled that day). 

Today, take a few minutes to remember all the wonderful people who lost their lives that day, either fighting to save those who were trapped, or the innocent people on the four airplanes, remember their families, and be grateful for all of the soliders in this country who have fought for our freedom.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Journey into Creating a Blog

I've always been fascinated by blogs, and how fun the lives are of people that I know.  I've often wondered about starting a family blog, but have always hesitated because I wonder if our life is interesting enough that anyone else would care to read about it!!

For now, I'm having a blast figuring out how to create a blog and make it at least look interesting...stay tuned for more fun!

Nick has loved pigs his entire life.  We were at the fair and while Brandon was off with grandma looking at the other animals in the petting zoo, Nick was off playing with the pigs!  It was too cute.