Monthly Archives: October 2012

Scarred for Life-part 4 "Treatment~Round Two" guest post by Ashley Laskiewicz

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This is a guest post done by my sister Ash. She is starting her own “blogging journey” and will be sharing here as well as on her own personal Facebook page. I lived this as a sister- and it was terrifying. I am eager to read this journey from her point of view.

To link directly to Ash’s blog click HERE

Blog- Scarred for Life

Entry 4- Treatment~Round Two

While my kids were happy to have me home and the baby was growing and thriving..I felt like I was dying…Was I?? Honestly I didn’t know….I had crazy symptoms and didn’t know how to deal with them….I was a person that was never sick, never saw the doctor, didn’t take medications….and now all of a sudden I as doing all of the above…

After the first round of Radioactive iodine I didn’t really feel the effects until later on…I started losing hair..I couldn’t lose the baby weight….I was tired…I felt aggravated all the time….I was jittery and high strung and even though I was tired I couldn’t sleep…And most of all I was mad as hell that I felt this way….I was the type of mother that would have dropped anything for a walk to the park…I had patience for silly things and loved being a mom…All sudden I wasn’t that person anymore..it took all I had just to get out of bed in the morning..

To look at me you would have never know anything was wrong…it was all internal…I remember John being upset that I had no sex drive…I remember Sarah being confused on why I didn’t want to push her on the swings for the 500th time…and when Morgan would cry in the middle of the night I remember thinking just go to fucking sleep!!

Life doesn’t stop when you have cancer….some days you just have to suck it the fuck up because there are people counting on you…I had two little people that depended on me…I remember one day calling John and just snapping….I couldn’t take the stress anymore….I hated everything and everyone…That day I made myself a doctors appointment because I knew I needed help…My regular Doctor could not see me so I saw his nurse…I walked in with Morgan and sat down and could barely speak…the emotions took over and I broke down..She asked me if there was someone she could call…Yes, call my sister…and she did…what I didn’t realize is this nurse new nothing about what I’d just been through..she saw me and a brand new baby and make a quick judgement…she thought I was a young overwhelmed mother that possibly had postpartum depression…she was calling my sister to come get Morgan…did she really think I’d hurt my own baby???

I was pissed and after explaining why I was there…she said to go back to the hospital in burlington, she would call ahead and have someone waiting for me…thank god!! I took the girls to my parents for the night and went to the hospital E.R….when I walked in and told them my name..they had in fact been waiting for me…They gave me a room, took my vitals and took some blood…and then they walked in…A crisis management team…Are you serious?? Oh they were very serious, and they looked at me like I was nuts…They asked me a million questions and watched my reactions…have you taken any drugs..Does radio active iodine count?? Have you gone through any trauma…Just found out I had cancer!!.. All that didn’t seem to matter to them…why weren’t they listening to me….Would you ever hurt your children…I remember saying noway and crying feeling defeated….why are you crying?? why are you so emotional?? Well wouldn’t you be???

They told me they had to leave and go and discuss with their team of crazy’s weather or not I could go home….I wished I’d never come…I was just looking for help….about an hour later the E.R. doctor came in and said “I’m so sorry” …why was I being committed??.. No they had finally gotten my lab results and my thyroid level was through the roof….what had happened was…when I had the radioactive iodine and the thyroid was destroyed it released all of the thyroid hormone into my body…I wasn’t crazy…I had 3 times the normal amount of thyroid hormone in my body…I left with some ativan instead of a straight jacket…

So after that nightmare things settled down and leveled out and I began taking medication…I couldn’t do the second radioactive iodine treatment right away, there had to be several months in between…I felt pretty good, normal….the kids were awesome..Morgan by this time was sitting up and Sarah was smart as a whip…we were hanging out with friends and it felt good…until it was time for the next treatment…in order for my thyroid to suck up the iodine I had to go off my meds…the meds that kept my energy level up…the meds that kept my hair growing..the meds that kept me feeling sane…I had to go off of them for 4 weeks…I can do this..I had to…It was a fight everyday…I’d never been tired…I’d never been depressed..I was the person that would have dropped everything and jumped in her car and driven 100 miles to nowhere just for the adventure…and now I could barely make it out of my driveway…

I made it through the 4 weeks of no meds and once again had the radioactive iodine…this time it was a lesser dose and I only had to be away from the girls for 5 days….John was working at an airport in Maine so instead of being alone in the house I decided to go with him..I was happy to get away…but this time it hit me a hell of a lot harder than last time…not only did I have no meds in my system.. this was killing off the last bit of working thyroid I had…I remember not wanting to be by myself and John not wanting to leave me in the hotel…so he wrapped me up in a blanket and I sat in his truck on the runway while he worked…I slept most of the time and I did some reading…I was pale and weak and my neck hurt this time…this was the first time I felt like a sick person..

I couldn’t wait to get home to the girls and get back on my meds…at least now with my thyroid totally gone there would be no worry….it took a long time to regulate my meds but I was feeling better…my hair didn’t come back the same.. it was thin, dry and turning grey at the age of 24…I didn’t drop all my baby weight and I was used to being very thin…this was hard for me to get used to…but I felt better….I got a bit of a break and enjoyed the summer…we actually moved to Maine where John was working and getting away was awesome!! I did commute the 3 hours back and fourth for appointments because I didn’t want to change doctors…but we would make it a sleepover at meme and papas and all was pretty good…

It was coming up on a year since the surgery..I couldn’t believe Morgan was turning a year old…she was a great baby..laid back and super sweet…And Sarah was the mayor of our house..she called the shots..I was enjoying every minute of being with them…

At my doctors appointment she said it was time to get a routine scan…but my meds would need tweaking so I could be injected with a small amount of iodine… whatever cells, if any where left they would absorb the iodine….bring it on!!

It was winter and the only things I can remember about being off my meds were constantly being freezing cold and gaining weight…I showed up for the scan and it was just like before…been there done that…I got this!!

Then I got a call….Ding Ding..round 3 of radio active iodine had been ordered

Scarred for Life-part 3 "Recovery~Diagnosis~Treatment" guest post by Ashley Laskiewicz

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This is a guest post done by my sister Ash. She is starting her own “blogging journey” and will be sharing here as well as on her own personal Facebook page. I lived this as a sister- and it was terrifying. I am eager to read this journey from her point of view.

To link directly to Ash’s blog click HERE

Blog- Scarred for Life

Entry 3- Recovery~Diagnosis~Treatment

 

Good Morning Sunshine” are the first words I heard upon waking up from surgery in the elevator heading to recovery…I remember only being able to keep my eyes open for seconds at a time…I remember being in so much pain and not being able to talk to tell anyone….the nurses however were great…every time they would see me start to wake up they would come and hit my morphine and I’d be out like light..

 I didn’t realize till later that I laid there for nearly 5 hours after surgery…It had been a long day for my mother and John in the waiting room..They let my mom in to see me and then she went back home to be with the girls..John came in after and I remember them making him leaving because he kept asking me questions and they didn’t want me to talk…
 I finally got to go upstairs to my room…John was there and I had awesome nurses..At this point I was wide awake and able to talk a little bit..I was starving and wanted to eat..chicken broth and jello was all I was allowed and I promptly threw it all up the minute it hit my stomach…They told me I should get up and walk around..I never realized how much my neck muscles did until that day…I could barely roll over in bed and they wanted me to walk up and down the halls, really?? I did what they said and walked to the vending machine so John could get a snack and started to pass out..It was scary..I remember having to sit down and then dry heaving on the floor…I was embarrassed and John had to carry me back to my room..
 My night’s sleep sucked, they put those boots on my feet that filled up with air and every time they did I’d wake up….I couldn’t roll over or get comfortable… John slept in the chair next to my bed…The next morning was miserable..but I was going home!! I will never forget John actually complaining about having a stiff neck from sleeping in that chair….are you kidding me!!!…YOU have a stiff neck???
 I had a surprise visit from the surgeon before being discharged…He wanted to tell me in person that he did in fact leave the left half of my thyroid gland inside me. The lump was looked at in the operating room by a pathologist and looked like it was just a goiter..it would be sent out for further testing…He said with this half of my thyroid being left inside my body I had a much better chance at not having to be on medication for the rest of my life…He acted like he did me a huge favor….so I was grateful..
 Driving home was excruciating….I swear John hit every bump possible…I arrived home and my couch had been pulled out and made into a bed where I would stay so I could watch t.v….I was pretty much out of it..on a lot of pain medication…I couldn’t get up by myself and could barely eat….I don’t remember how many days it was until I saw the girls…when I did finally get to see them it was painful emotionally and physically….I was to sore to hold Morgan and every time Sarah would jump, hug or try to snuggle me, it hurt..I wasn’t able to fully care for them by myself for about a week and a half..
 Aside from recovering and trying to get better so I could have the kids home…Christmas was coming!! And between having a baby and having surgery, I hadn’t done any shopping at all…I remember saying screw it and driving to walmart..my mom yelling at me because they had told me not to drive for 2 weeks..oh well…I remember standing in the toy aisle in so much pain, fighting back the tears and then leaving the toy filled cart there and going home…I was finally able to convince John we needed to go to the mall…We didn’t have a lot of money so I asked Sarah if she could have anything what would it be?? She wanted a giant winnie the pooh…I was on a mission and found her one at the disney store..Now I couldn’t wait until christmas morning!
 Christmas was great!! Every year my parents would put on an open house with tons of food and tons of people…I would be able to dress the girls up and I think it was the first time I put on real clothes since having Morgan..I remember wearing a turtle neck because I didn’t want anyone to see my neck and ask about it…After all I was heading to the Doctors the very next day and it would all be behind me..so let’s enjoy this night with friends and family…
 My follow up appointment was the day after Christmas..it was also the first time I’d be taking both kids out with me..my mom came too…My first follow up was with the endocrinologist.. my follow up with the surgeon was a few days later…I was thankful I’d made it through this and I was looking forward to putting this behind me and being able to get back into a routine with the girls…We sat in the room and waited for the doctor….she appeared with a folder in her hand and asked me if I’d seen the surgeon yet? Nope I hadn’t…”I just pulled your pathology results off the computer” She said…wonderful..lay it on me….And then she said it….It was cancer…
 I remember panicking and immediately crying..My mom shushing me because she needed to hear what this lady was saying..Sarah asking me what was wrong…I wanted to grab that folder and rip it up…I wanted this doctor to go check it again…obviously she’d gotten it wrong…the surgeon told me it looked okay….go fucking check again!!!
 She wasn’t wrong… there was no mistake…the lump was minimally invasive follicular carcinoma…words I will never forget…but it was easily treatable and according to her…if your going to have cancer it’s the best one to have…Are you serious?? Do you want to take my place on this table right now??.. Was I supposed to feel lucky??…Like I had hit the mother fucking cancer lottery??..
 She reminded us that the surgeon had left the other half of my thyroid inside and told me she would immediately schedule a second surgery..WHAT??? There’s noway I could do that again…there’s noway this is really happening…I needed time to digest this..I needed to go home…
 I don’t remember the drive home..I don’t remember the kids being in the back seat…but I remember my mom being ridiculously calm and positive when all I wanted to do was swear at anyone that looked at me and punch them in the face…we drove to her house and I called john…it was the first time I’d said it out loud…It’s cancer…
 My follow up with the surgeon was here…John came with me and I had all the bandages and steri strips removed..the scar was there and it was still numb..I remember touching it and getting sick to my stomach…The surgeon went over the pathology report….like I hadn’t heard it loud and clear the first time…I told him the endocrinologist wanted another surgery and my guess was he would be the one to do it….He didn’t like this and took offense right away…there was no need to question his work…he got it all…he told me “I’m good at what I do”… He did me a favor and left that side in, so I could have a more normal future…didn’t I remember if I was his wife that’s what he’d do??..I remember thinking.. Do you hate your fucking wife??
 It became a battle between the surgeon and the endocrinologist and I was caught in the middle…I decided to get a second opinion and see the most recommended doctor at Mass general in Boston…
John and I went and sat in his office…he was one of those guys that was sooo smart he came off as odd…he had a bunch of interns sitting in with us…the more the merrier!!…they discussed me like I wasn’t even in the room and tossed some mumbo jumbo back and fourth and then he finally said (and I’m not kidding when I type this) “as much as I’d love to slice your neck open..there’s no need to”and he recommended I have radioactive iodine treatment.
 To me it was a better alternative to having another surgery..I called my endocrinologist and asked if she was okay with this new plan and could she set it up…Yes she was…I scheduled lots of appointments and had tons of blood work and scans…Then learned that I would be radioactive?? I would need to be in isolation??? My stomach sank when they told me I would have to stay away from the kids for another 7 days…it was to dangerous for them to be around me…so once again I packed them up and my mom and sister took over…
 They had to special order this radioactive stuff and I had to be there when is was delivered…it was late at night and we drove to the hospital…the nuclear medicine room was in the basement and John had to wait outside…they led me into what looked like a vault …. a guy with a suit and gloves on took a lead canister out of the counter and opened it….he told me to hold out my hand…out of this big thing came two pills…he gave me some water and told me to swallow them….let me get this straight, your in here in a suit and gloves and won’t even touch these pills and you want me to eat them??? Thats exactly what they wanted me to do and in doing this it would kill any remaining thyroid I had left.
I went home…all was fine…I didn’t feel radioactive..I didn’t look radioactive…I couldn’t go out in public…I couldn’t be within 3 feet of John for more than 10 minutes…I ate with plasticware and paper plates and had to throw them away outside…I had to flush the toilet 3 times when I went to the bathroom…I couldn’t spit my toothpaste in the sink it had to be spit in the toilet and flushed 3 times…I couldn’t chew gum…wash all clothes separately and wash them twice…and god forbid if I threw up I had to call nuclear medicine for a clean up.. and in case I died nuclear medicine would have to be called to come get my body!!
 After a very looong week of basically being bored to death…I was ready to get my kids and celebrate!! I had to go back to the hospital for more bloodwork and another scan…I remember being giddy at the thought this was over..I was happy and told myself it was a small price to pay for my health and the kids would never remember not being with me during those weeks…after all they were being spoiled rotten by their Meme and Auntie…
 I got my iv inserted and waited to be called…they called me in and let John stand behind the glass and watch…I laid on the table and they turned on the machine..the lights when all around and they slid me in..telling me when to breathe and when to hold my breath…when it was over I don’t remember what they said..if anything at all…I just couldn’t wait to get out of there..we went home feeling relieved and I would return to the endocrinologist and start discussing meds…big deal so I have to take a pill everyday..to me it seemed that easy…
 When I returned for my follow up…..once again this bitch with the folder told me devastating news..
My scan showed a piece of working thyroid still in there….I would have to go through another round of the radio active iodine…now not only was I lucky enough to get THIS kind of cancer….I was lucky enough to have what they were calling…the thyroid of steel..
 
Christmas night

Morgan the reindeer

Sarah & Morgan
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neighbors, and dogs, and identity theft oh my!

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In my Fun Fact Friday post, I mentioned driving 3 sets of neighbors out, and a couple people in boxed me asking what was up with that? Don’t be scared! Unless you move in next door and act like an asshat.

Okay, so here is the story, and you be the judge. I moved into my home at the age of 17, husband was 20. We had great neighbors with 3 little boys. We aren’t a trick-or-treat area, so I would make them special little decorated boxes full of treats for Halloween, attended their birthday parties, gave homemade Xmas cookies, we were always leaving treats on each other’s doorsteps. The mom did the same for us, especially after we had Abby. It was a great relationship, then they decided to move into a bigger home, and some new people bought the house next to us.

Enter A&A (I am not going to use any names in this story). A&A were….I am going to assume early 30-somethings, I honestly couldn’t tell you. They were career folks, and all they really wanted was to flip the house and make some big money. They rejected all efforts to be friendly, and were not fond of pretty much anything we did. They HATED our dog, and called the dog officer or police any chance they got. They didn’t approve of our 4wheelers, chain saw’s or kids making noise. My husband is the type of person who pretty much is who he is, and doesn’t change for anyone. It just made it a strained situation, and soon they would say loudly enough for us to hear that they couldn’t wait to get away from these hicks, make some profit and be gone. Whatever. I guess it’s not accurate to say we “drove them out”, but it sounds more dramatic. The last time I saw A&A, they were wearing matching overalls, with these big bug spray canisters marching around their back yard. Oh yea, I’d miss them alright.

Next came a little family of 3. Yay a kid! A girl Logan’s age, and Abby was thrilled. We made extra efforts to welcome them, determined to make a solid friendship, and we did. They were great friends of ours. The dad even got himself a motorcycle so he could ride with my husband and his friends. We attended each others functions and even shared a couple kids birthdays in a backyard area that was kind of behind both of our homes.

The only issue we really had with them was their daughter- she was extremely spoiled and sheltered. Anytime she was with us, her parents had an issue about what we were allowing her to do, like pat kittens or get dirty. Hey, my kids played outside, and I like it. Not them, and it became a rift. Abby would go to their house (where they’d play inside only) and she would be sent home, coming through the door upset at being kicked out of their house. This was ALWAYS because she wouldn’t give the girl her way. For example – the girls were playing a Barbie computer game. Part of the game was to name your horse. Abby chose “mystic”. The girl says “you can’t have mystic, that’s my beanie baby unicorns name” Abby said that she liked it, and that’s what she wanted for the name. The girl went and got her father, and without asking for details he kicked Abby out saying she was upsetting his little girl. Ok..

This was just a quick example. This went on and on and on. It ended up turning into a strained relationship, stemming from the way we were treating each others kids. The girl was terrified of everything, so any time she was at our house, where there were dogs, cats, birds and a bull, she would go home in tears and the parents would be pissed at us. It spiraled, until we were barely speaking. I admit, it did suck because we’d been friends, and I knew that someday when the little girl got older things might change.

We had a huge shrub that divided our driveways, the shrub was on our property. This shrub was a pain for the kids to get around to visit each other, so we cut a doorway and put an arbor up so they could pass through easily. Well, this shrub was a bee haven, and soon there was a nest near the doorway. The mom bitched and whined and complained, and we tried spraying and knocking it down, but they kept coming back.

One day I pulled in after work to find the shrub GONE. My husband had gotten fed up and taken his back ho to it, yanking up the whole length of it. We were literally in each others driveways now. I would pull into my parking spot and they would be sitting 12 feet away eating at their picnic table.

The for sale sign went up shortly after.

Enter the worst neighbors in history. “The Heinous family” (a take on their actual last name). Started okay, married couple, pregnant wife. We were friendly. My husband plowed them out in winter, helped them move some big rocks in their yard, dug a pond for them in the back.

The first issue to arise was their dogs. 2 big Chows that were not well trained. They needed sedation to be groomed or vet visits- and they refused to tie or fence them. My kids were young, and I had a 6 lb Pomeranian- this was not a good situation. To take my kids or dog out I would need to go out alone first and do a yard sweep to check for them. They would chase my cat right up to my front door. If they were outside, they’d take a challenging stance, glaring and growling. They would shit on our lawn and we’d all step in it. More than once my husband flung the poop up onto their back deck after finding it in our grass.

We tried to ask nicely- expressed our concerns. Nope, didn’t care, we aren’t tying up our dogs (assholes). Still, we stayed fairly friendly. I painted a gorgeous rocking chair when they had their baby and customized it with her name. They were going on a trip for 3 weeks and asked that we watch their house, which we did.

While they were gone I hatched a plan. The layout of our properties made it ingenious..We could start at the road, run a fence between our properties, but stay on our land so we weren’t trespassing….behind us was a common land area owned by a cul-de-sac (who hated those Chows as well) so they gave us the okay to put the fence on their part, and so did the neighbor on the other side of these people. This might work…..

They returned from their trip to find their entire property fenced in. They were MAD- as this was a crappy farm style wire fence, but it did the job and those dogs couldn’t get out on 3 sides (only if they ran to the front and came around it) This was perfect! I could be outside and be safe again! but they were irate, and it started a huge feud. I do acknowledge that this was the catalyst to the feud- but that’s just tough shit as far as I am concerned. My family and their safety comes first and foremost, and if you threaten that, then you are my enemy, very simple.

They hated the fence, so lucky for us, they had a fence company come replace it with a nice one – a big tall stockade fence that nobody could see over- yes!! The only problem was the fence wasn’t low enough, it didn’t sit on the ground, it was up a bit, and the frigging dogs could get their faces under, and while doing some yard work one day- my husband got bit. Cops were called, an ER visit was had, and the first report was filed. A few days later Logan was playing and the dog’s snout came under, teeth searching for a target. My husband went next door and said very calmly to them “If your dog bites my kid, I am not going to kill your dog, I am going to kill you.” (yup, not really a smart thing to say…but I do think he meant it at that moment)

The next thing we noticed was water. Water was running under the fence, flooding our driveway. What the heck? We snooped a little and discovered they’d blocked their pond drain, allowing it to overflow and then made a little trough to funnel it under the fence. They did the same to their roof gutters, making a little channel aimed toward our yard. Dicks.

We had very little verbal exchange at this point. We tried to ignore them. Their dogs chased and bit a jogger, then the UPS man. I was scared of those dogs.

One day one dog got loose. I was in the driveway with my kids, and I looked over to see him glaring at us…I quickly ushered them in as a jogger ran by, and off this creep of a dog went after him- and WHAMMMM hit and run over by a car. The woman ran out, and so did I. I was more concerned for the poor lady who hit the dog, she was so upset. I assured her it wasn’t her fault- but the neighbor was making her feel awful. The husband got the dog into their car, took him to the vet and he lived. Ugh.

Their dogs got sick- they accused us of poisoning them!! (this offended me sooo bad). I was scared for my own animals, especially our bull being out alone at night.

One night we were in our driveway, they on their deck which was up high enough that they could see over the fence, and the guy says to us “you might want to have your daughter change the password on her computer…cute kid you got there” (she was 13) I was HORRIFIED. The guy does computer security for a huge corporation that we all know. I started to feel panicky and paranoid.

The next thing we knew, my husband starting receiving credit cards. First a couple, then up to 100 a day- filling our mailbox. Wtf? They were all connected to crazy email addresses, variations of his name- but had his SS#. I had to freeze his credit.

One day I got a call from a realtor asking when we’d like to schedule the open house. “Excuse me?” I asked her…..yup..that fuckwad had put our house on the market. I could not believe this was happening.

We had police step in at that point. A file was opened and IP addresses were captured. We installed security cameras, and locked down all password protected electronics. Finally, after the police coming multiple times, and this guy not being able to spin the situation to his advantage, the for sale sign went up. YESSSSS!!!

Not so fast. The housing market had tanked, and they were in deep- over double what their original mortgage was (yup I checked). They were stuck They took more loans and renovated. Still sat not selling. His job moved him out of state and they were able to rent it out- and that is who is still there now- renters (and WE LOVE THEM).

So, take the facts, and make your own call. Did we drive them out? Maybe not technically….but they still own that house, and could return at any time…..stay tuned..

Our stone driveway, fence that divides our properties

Scarred for Life-part 2 "Pregnancy" guest post by Ashley Laskiewicz

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This is a guest post done by my sister Ash. She is starting her own “blogging journey” and will be sharing here as well as on her own personal Facebook page. I lived this as a sister- and it was terrifying. I am eager to read this journey from her point of view.
To link directly to Ash’s blog click HERE
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Blog- Scarred for Life
Entry 2- Pregnancy

So I was 15 weeks pregnant, I had a lump in my neck and there was nothing I could do about it….The surgeon was super optimistic and reassured me everything was going to be fine…I remember the thoughts that ran through my mind..Would whatever this was affect the baby?? Would it make me sick?? Would it grow into something bad before I could have it out?? Why was this even in there!!!

Eventually the worry about it went away, I had much more to focus on…A smart little 3 yr old that wanted attention from me every second of everyday…my growing belly…my 24th birthday and the summer ahead…

I scheduled my ultra sound for the baby and Sarah accompanied me…She was sure that this was a baby brother and was already calling it “Toby” to this day I have no clue where that name ever came from…Hot jelly on my belly and the screen lit up, there it was all tucked in and safe…the tech asked if we want to know if it was a boy or girl?? Yes!! She printed out a picture and handed it to Sarah, on the picture it said “Your new baby SISTER!!” I think this was the only time in Sarah’s life she was speechless, then she said “Toby is a girl??” Yes I guess so…

Over the next few weeks my midwife suggested that I get a second opinion and see an endocrinologist. I found a women at Lahey clinic and made an appointment…We reviewed everything, and she confirmed this lump had to come out and referred me to a surgeon in Burlington that was considered the best.

I’m not sure how long I waited to see this new surgeon….I had more important stuff on my agenda…Like Sarah starting pre-school for the very first time…coming up with and painting a theme for our nursery…digging out all of Sarah’s baby clothes and making sure they were ready…And a name…we needed a name!

I finally went and saw this surgeon and he too agreed this lump was coming out along with my thyroid…I’m thinking wait a sec, don’t you need that?? I was given tons of paperwork to read and was told the endocrinologist would take care of the thyroid part as far as medication I would need afterwards…This still wasn’t a reality to me, I guess because I was still pregnant and couldn’t move forward…maybe she could stay in there forever and I wouldn’t have to deal with this…no such luck..I left that appointment with a surgery date..Dec 12th 2001..22 days after I was supposed to give birth.

Ok I could handle this right?? I had no choice, weather I liked it or not this baby was coming out and so was the lump…Halloween came and went and we were fastly approaching my due date…I got down to the weekly appointments and they kept saying “she’s ready”…Nov 20th came and went, as did the 21st, 22nd, 23rd etc…I begged them to induce me because the longer she waited the closer my surgery date was getting..

It was Nov 27th and I was in labor!! I had my parents take Sarah and I called the midwife. My water had not broken yet, so there was no rush…I got the the hospital, and they broke my water at 1 am… At 1:17 am on Nov 28th Morgan Sayward Laskiewicz was born…8lbs 13ozs and bald…She was perfect…

Instead of having 22 days to recover from giving birth I had 14…During those 2 short weeks, it wasn’t your typical snuggling and devoting every minute to your new baby…For me it was making sure I had people to take care of my kids while I was in the hospital and while recovering…Making lists of their schedules and writing notes to the teacher of who would be picking up and dropping sarah off…trying to explain to a 3 yr old why she would have to stay at her grandparents for a week while I was at home…and trying to wrap my head around handing over my 2 week old baby to someone else for a week..

I had to go into the hospital the day before my surgery to fill out some forms…John was with me and we took Morgan too..They handed me a thick packet to read through and sign..It said things like..Pain, trauma, stiffness, damaged vocal cords, wind pipe, tracheotomy…all the things that could go wrong.

We left and took Morgan to my parents where both kids would sleep so I could get up early to head to the hospital…I was thankful that between my parents and my sister, we had all the bases covered…I don’t remember much of that night except for my father asking me if I had thought about the possibility of not making it out of surgery….Not until now dad..thanks a lot!!..Then with quick hugs and kisses I left them there…

The next morning came quick and we were in the car heading to the hospital…I couldn’t eat or drink anything and I remember John wanting to stop for a coffee, how selfish I thought…I checked in and they made you sit a room and wait.. Everyone looking at each other wondering why they were there. I don’t think John and I talked and then the lady came out and called my name..This was it..This was what I had been waiting for and dreading for months…A quick hug and kiss and then I was behind closed doors…

The room was big, full of beds…people being prepped for different surgeries…she handed me a johnny and told me to take everything off…I asked her if I could keep my underwear on because I was still bleeding from just having a baby…she had to go ask if it was okay and it was not…well that was just great…

The anesthesiologist came next…I remember him being the sweetest person I’d encountered in there yet…He mixed me up a cocktail to calm my nerves and I was relieved when he told me he’d be in there with me the entire time….Next was the surgeon, he came and explained what he was going to do and how they do it…Through my loopiness I heard him say it was a lot like the biopsy, they would hang my head off the end of the able and make the incision just above my collar bone..And not to worry because the scar would be in a wrinkle and hardly noticeable…Yeah cause that’s my biggest friggen worry right now!! They would insert a breathing tube through the neck so I could breathe…Then they would remove the lump along with the right side of my thyroid gland…He decided it was best if they had a pathologist look at the lump before they closed me up, that way if it was in fact just a goiter he would leave the left side of the thyroid glad intact..I was uneasy about this because we had all agreed the whole thing should come out…but who was I to argue with a guy carrying a scalpel…As he walked away he said “if you were my wife that’s what I’d do”.

When it was time they wheeled me into the operating room..It was cold and bright and I remember thinking, it’s exactly like what you see on T.V…I remember them moving me from the bed I was in over to the table and apologizing for being so heavy because I’d just had a baby…In fact I had two babies at home..so you better not screw this up!!

Then I heard “see you in recovery” and it was lights out…

 
 
 
 
 
Sarah and my big belly

Me & Morgan

Morgan
 

Scarred for Life-part 1 "Pregnancy" guest post by Ashley Laskiewicz

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This is a guest post done by my sister Ash. She is starting her own “blogging journey” and will be sharing here as well as on her own personal Facebook page. I lived this as a sister- and it was terrifying. I am eager to read this journey from her point of view.
 
To link directly to Ash’s blog click HERE
 
 
 
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Blog- Scarred for Life
Entry 1- Pregnancy
 
 
This is my first blog ever…I’m sure by the time I’m done I’ll have a few more…you might be reading this on my page, my sister’s page, a friends?? I’m doing this hoping to connect with some people that can relate….so here goes..


I’m not a religious person, nor do I believe in superstitions. But through my journey, there is one thing I have grown to believe in and that is…everything happens for a reason. If you had preached this crap to me 11 yrs ago I would have told you to shut it and move along..


In 2001, I lived with my boyfriend and our 3 yr old daughter. A kid free getaway up north to snowmobile resulted in a surprise pregnancy…It’s not something we had planned at the time but we were both happy after the shock wore off….Since I had done this before there was no rush to make the boring gynecologist appointment, so I waited a few weeks….


With my 3 year old Sarah in tow, we headed to our first appointment. We met our new midwife and to my surprise got to hear the heart beat on our first visit!! After going over the regular questions and giving me a due date of Nov 20th, she asked me if I had any concerns.


I told her I had a sore throat and I was worried it was strep. She cultured my throat and checked my glands, moving her hands down my neck and around to the front she paused and said “do you know you have a large lump here?” Uh no, how many times do you feel the front of your own neck…She left the room and came back with another doctor, by the time I left that appointment, I had another appointment for an ultrasound the very next day…

 
I showed up for the ultrasound again with a toddler in tow and the tech was so awesome she gave us out first sneak peak at our baby!! I was so happy and thinking about names not what was in my neck….The word goiter had been tossed around at the doctors office, so I wasn’t at all worried…But to my surprise they once again called in more doctors and when I left that appointment, I left this time with an appointment to see a surgeon immediately….

 
I was starting to worry, I called John and told him to come home, I needed him for this appointment….I called and had my grandparents watch Sarah and we headed to the surgeons office. The exam was routine and he didn’t seem overly worried, he too talked about it probably being a goiter (whatever the hell that was) but to be on the safe side he wanted to do a fine needle biopsy…I figured I’d have time to think this over but he said he could do it right then…

 
Sick to my stomach and John sweating in the corner, they laid me down and hung my head off of the end of the table. They numbed my neck and then said don’t swallow and they took out what looked like a god damned harpoon and inserted it directly into the front of my neck…I closed my eyes and I remember feeling the doctors hands shake. It was over in a matter of seconds…It would be sent out and I would wait for the results….

 
I don’t remember how long I waited but I had Sarah to keep me occupied. On the day I was told I could call, I did….I asked the receptionist if I could have the results and she gave me them over the phone she said “they found follicular cells” just as matter of fact and then she said I had a follow up appointment to see the surgeon to discuss it, the next day…So I did what anyone else would have done and looked up follicular cells online….Helllllooooo!! What I found hit me like a freight train…How could this lady behind her desk be so calm?? Didn’t she know what this was?? Didn’t she know I could be sick?? Didn’t she know I was pregnant??

 
I called John, come home!! I called my mother who left work to come over…I remember my sister in law coming with an iced coffee….I was a mess and didn’t want to wait another minute to see this doctor.. My mother called and read the women the riot act and made her give me an appointment sooner….


I went to the appointment and was told they did in fact find follicular cells, BUT it wasn’t cancer until they break out of the capsule (this was like a foreign language to me) and there was no way of knowing if it had until they remove it…so to be on the safe side let’s take this lump out…Ok only problem with that was I was 15 weeks pregnant…



ultrasound 1


ultrasound 2


Sarah practicing for her new baby!


Who is the ‘retard’?

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Today in the Huffington Post:

 “Ann Coulter called President Obama a “retard” on Monday night.
 
 She made the remark on Twitter after the fourth and final presidential debate between  Obama and  Mitt Romney. “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard,” she tweeted.
 
Coulter was met with some backlash from people on Twitter, who called it “offensive and disrespectful” and asked her “Are you out of your f-cking mind?”

Okay. Wow. I’m really surprised by this, and I am extremely supportive of all of the backlash, and I am offended for the people who are offended…..but I am not offended for my family.

Back when Logan was quite a bit younger, the first mention of the word “retarded” came up in conversation with his pediatrician, for lack of a better word I guess? Delayed, slowed, not progressing, were all thrown in there too. Okay, we knew all this. We knew Logan was delayed, and slow and not progressing, but had I considered the word mentally retarded? Handicapped? Not really…not until that day.

I recall feeling like I had been punched in the stomach when those words came out of his mouth. I didn’t hear the words for their meaning, I heard a negative insult. I heard my kid was a screw up. I heard this is the label we are slapping on your child, sorry, I am his doctor and now I’ve said it, it’s out there, it’s never going away.

The truth of the matter is…since then, I have come to personally feel that there is a difference. Logan is indeed mentally retarded. He is challenged, he is delayed, he is slow to progress. But what he is NOT- is a “retard”.

A retard is a word thrown around carelessly, by many, many people. Good people, kind people, caring people, people who may even love a mentally retarded person. I’ve even had people use it in conversation with me, and then apologize. Honestly? The apology offends me way more than the use of the word. Are you apologizing because you think Logan is a retard? Because I don’t. Maybe you are, considering you can’t come up with another, more impressive word to call someone.

So, I get that the word will be used. I get that it definitely will offend many people, so you should really be careful where you’re slinging it. But Logan is not, and never will be a ‘retard’ so please, don’t apologize on our account.

Happy Birthday Logan

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October 18, 1995: I sat in the waiting room, nervously tapping my foot. My turn was next. I was 10 days overdue and I was hoping today would be the day I would be induced. To anticipate your due date, then have it come- and then go- is so disappointing. Abby sat next to me with a book, babbling away. Her little mouth never stopped, she always had something to say about something. She was 3, and everything was exciting “mama, look at this!” and “mama, what does this say?” She kept my attention until my  name was called.

The ultrasound tech wasn’t all that talkative. She was pretty right to the point- “Your baby has the cord around his neck, I need to get the doctor” and she was gone. I’m laying there alone on the table, shirt pulled up, gel dripping off my little bump. I hadn’t gotten nearly as big with this pregnancy- no matter how hard I tried, so I was still comfortable and loved my little belly. Abby came over and asked if we were done. “Not yet” I told her.

The doctor in charge of the department that day came in. I’d seen him off and on through this pregnancy, any time my regular doctor was away. He confirmed that the baby’s cord was indeed around his neck. He looked at me, looked at Abby, asked if I had anyone else with me. I said I didn’t, my husband was at work. At that time Seth was working 4 days a week, 10 hours each day. This was one of his ‘on’ days and he wasn’t due home for several hours. I figured even if they had induced me he’d have plenty of time to get there, so I didn’t make the appointment a big deal, he went to work.

The doctor asked how long it would take for my husband to get to the hospital? I told him less than an hour. He sort of hemmed and hawed, looked at the image on the screen again and said “I’m going to send you home. Be back here at 7 am for induction”. And he walked out. So that was that, I cleaned up, grabbed my Abbygirl, and we went home.

If this had happened today, I would have insisted we start the process immediately. I would have been assertive and demanding….but I was 21, and trusted them..

The next morning, bright and early, Seth and I headed to the hospital. I was hooked up to the IV and Pitocin was started. Seth paced. My mother, who was in the final rounds of cancer/chemo showed up to support me. Now, what happened next is all written out in my blog named “birth”. To summarize, my labor with Abby had taken about 12 hours total, so this time while we were waiting for the contractions to really get going, I sent Seth away to buy the car seats I’d been wanting, thinking there was plenty of time and not much for him to do sitting at the hospital. I am a silent sufferer, and having been through this 3 yrs earlier, I knew there was literally nothing he could do or say that was going to help me. I am just like that with pain- I deal internally. No screaming, no swearing, just pick a spot to focus on and let the pain do it’s work- get this baby out.

The baby came extremely fast. Nurses rushed to get a doctor. The doctor looked surprised as he delivered this tiny head, I don’t think he expected it to happen this fast. As this was happening, my sister walked in with a camera and started recording. He had me stop pushing with just the baby’s head out so he could cut the cord. The cord was wrapped extremely tightly around the baby’s neck- twice. The cord had actual knots in it as well. This baby had been an acrobat in my stomach, so I wasn’t surprised. After I was finally allowed to deliver the rest of him- he didn’t move or cry. He had blue hands and feet. He was limp. They didn’t lay him on my stomach like they had with my other delivery- they took him.

My sister taped all of this, so I have watched it over, and over, and over. He finally does take a breath at the 1 minute Apgar marker, and because of that, he got decent Apgar scores. He cries shortly after. As his blood oxygenates, his color pinkens up and he looks healthy. He is much smaller at 7 lbs 2oz, 19″ than Abby had been at 9lbs 3oz, 21″. He wasn’t small by newborn standards, but he looked so tiny to me.

Seth walked in before I held the baby. I guess I forgive him..I mean, I had sent him on the errand and there was no way to tell how fast this would happen. I did have my mother and sister there.

I finally got to hold him. This little, scrawny, beautiful, baby. His arms and legs were like chicken bones, not much fat at all. Besides being a little skinny- he was perfect. I felt great- the labor was fast and although much more painful than with Abby, it was relatively easy as far as pushing and all of the exhausting work. I got right up and showered and felt even better.

About 6 hours later my mother in law came in with Abby. We got it on tape- the baby was still unnamed up until this point. I asked Abby “what are we going to name him? You can pick his name” she smiled brightly and said in her cute little voice “Logan”.

So began our journey of being the parents of Logan. We became a 4 person household. I was 21, and still new at this, but Abby had been so much fun, so I figured this would just enhance our family- and it definitely did. Logan was a welcome addition, even when the problems started.

I’ve also blogged about his progress and his medical issues in previous posts, so I won’t list off all of the details of the things he’s been through. I will say that within a couple of weeks I knew there was something wrong. His arms and legs were so skinny, but his abdomen was distended. He was coughing. He was vomiting a lot and often. At 8 wks he had a corrective surgery for Pyloric Stenosis, which was his first of many hospital stays. He failed to thrive no matter what we did. He was frequently dehydrated and needed extra nourishment. We were at the hospital a lot and a feeding tube was discussed more than once.

He was missing milestones left and right. Not sitting up, not walking. He was so, soo small. Its been a long, arduous journey for all of us. I have included several photos at the end of this blog, sort of a timeline as he aged. He looked adorable with clothes on, but so skinny undressed. At about the age of 6 was when he finally filled out and got to a healthy weight.

Being his mother has been the toughest and most rewarding job I have ever had. I’ve gone through a range of emotions I never knew I had in me. I have dug a courage out of myself that I never knew existed. I have been proud of things I would have otherwise taken for granted. He has taught me some life’s lessons, and I have learned what is truly important. I am a completely different person than I was before being his mother. On the days when I would rather just stay in bed, the fact that he gets up and faces his challenges head on gives me the extra push to make it through my day.

The last 17 years have been an amazing whirlwind of hope and love. They have created memories and bonds that are so special.

Happy Birthday LoganBerry. You are the best son I could have ever hoped for. You make my life worth the effort, and you make me a better person on a daily basis. I wouldn’t be half the person I am if I had never had you. Together we can and will overcome anything and everything. No mountain is too high, no river too wide. I will always stand by you, I will always fight for you, I will always love you.

I love you oh-teen-and-a-half honey pie. Love, Your Honey Nugget

Happy Birthday

Abby naming Logan

6 weeks

8 weeks Boston Children’s Hospital

6 months

7 months

8 months

8 months- cast foot for Metatarsus Adductus

9 months just sitting up

10 months

1 year

Abby-4 Logan-1

14 months

15 months

Abby 4 Logan 18 mos

20 months

22 months

24 months

Logan 2 Abby 5

2 yrs old

3 yrs old

4 yrs old

4 yrs old

4th birthday



almost 6

The photo bomber!!