What a vacation will do to the mind....and the heart.

J and I took a vacation for nine days. Nine whole days, sans-baby. We let go of the parental steering wheel and handed over the controls to the grandparents. It was the hardest thing we've done as parents, but also the most rewarding thing we have done for our relationship since she was born.

We had an amazing time, with three vacations packed into one. 2 days in Vegas, 3 in Seattle, one night in Carson, and three nights camping at Sasquatch Music Festival at The Gorge.

We saw some pretty amazing things, so I'm going to have to split this post up into several, as to not overwhelm you. I can tell you, though...it felt great. We turned off the Blackberry (but left our iphone on for emergency calls/emails). We took our laptop, but only to convert videos and photos we took on our trip. We turned on the television only one night (to watch the American Idol Finale, duh). We spent a lot of time playing Scrabble on the Iphone (and the board game version in Carson). We spent even more time walking, hiking, seeing sites, sitting down to nice dinners, cuddling by the fire, taking gorgeous drives and of course, seeing some fantastic music.

It was great to remove all the stress of the day-to-day, and reconnect with each other. It is good to know, that we have a great foundation and to revisit that foundation for nine whole days.

Bryce's Biopsy

I wanted to share some great news with everyone. But first, the backstory...a not-so-great email we received on the 2nd from my mom's first cousin (we're a very close family).

Hi everyone,

Facebook seems fairly inappropriate for this, but calling everyone seems more difficult. We had some very sad news today concerning our 26 year old son, Bryce.

About three weeks ago, Bryce had a seizure in the middle of the night. No one saw it and Bryce couldn't remember it, but he was bruised and extremely sore the next day. Bryce lives with our oldest son, Scott and our two grandchildren, Hannah and Gabrielle, in Bentonville, AR. Scott is a physician and so had some tests ordered. Those tests came back normal and after consulting with other docs, decided not to pursue more invasive and expensive procedures. This past Sunday night, Bryce had another seizure similar to the first. So an appointment was made with a neurologist for next week. Then, last night Scott witnessed bizarre behavior from Bryce that led him to believe that we needed to move faster with a diagnosis.

Bryce had a C-scan early this morning. We were all shocked to learn that he has a brain tumor. An MRI was immediately scheduled for a couple of hours later. Scott was able to get Bryce an appointment with a neurological surgeon in Tulsa at 2 pm this afternoon. Roger, Ross and I met Scott and Bryce in Tulsa for the appointment.

So, if there is good news when you have a brain tumor........
He has an oligodendroglioma high in the right frontal lobe of his brain. Scott says if you have to have a brain tumor this is the kind you want. There is a 75% survival rate at 5 years for this type of tumor. This doesn't sound great until you realize that those numbers include all ages, people who are not very young, people who have other health risks, etc. Bryce has his youth, his excellent health, the relative good placement of the tumor, all in his favor. Also, it does not appear that this tumor is malignant. This is an extremely slow growing tumor.

The not so good news...... The tumor is quite large. 8 x 6 centimeters. The doctors were actually surprised that we had not noticed any behavioral changes in Bryce. Operating on this type of tumor is not recommended. There is the chance of doing harm to his brain. The main symptoms of this type of tumor is seizure. He will be on seizure medications for the rest of his life, barring some wonderful new medical treatment. Frequent MRIs will also be ordered to be sure the tumor doesn't change.

The treatment.... Bryce has been placed on seizure medication with the hopes of getting control of these seizures. He is taking steroids to hopefully reduce the edema (swelling) in his brain. Next Wednesday, the 29th, Bryce will have a biopsy done. This is an invasive procedure, drilling a small hole into his skull. There will be an active MRI going on during the surgery so the physician can see where he is placing the needle. Several areas of the tumor will be sampled. We will have the results in 3-5 days. He will be in the ICU following the procedure, then on to the surgical floor for about one day. They are keeping him so they can watch for bleeding in the brain which is a side effect of the biopsy.

Bryce is in very good spirits and as Scott said he is taking this news better than the rest of us. My sons started in on the 'tumor jokes' right away. What does your tumor think about that? Just think, if either of you two ever get a tumor, mine is the biggest. Oh, you go first, tumor boy. Man, I bet you feel bad about the way you treated me when we were kids, knowing I have this tumor and all. It got worse and I'm sure it will only continue.

And because we can't have just one family emergency, my dad is having open heart surgery, probably this Thursday. He needs a mitral valve repair or replacement. His surgery will take place in Oklahoma City. We were on our way to see his surgeon when Scott called with the news about Bryce. It has been a difficult day.

We need your prayers. I am home tomorrow so if you want, you may call. Bryce is also probably home tomorrow. Also on the good news side, Bryce, Scott and friends had a trip planned to Las Vegas for this weekend. The doctor said he can go! He, of course, is not allowed any alcohol -- his mother has no problem with that -- and he's just thrilled he still gets to go. No calls on Thursday, please, as Dad will most likely be in surgery.

I will update you on Dad and Bryce when we know more. Thanks to all of you for your good wishes and prayers.


Followed by an update sent out today:

Yesterday, we got our report from Dr. Wilson on Bryce's biopsy. We have a change in diagnosis. Bryce's tumor is a low grade oligoastrocytoma (WHO grade II).

First the World Health Organization grade II -- There is a standard rating of tumors, grades I - IV. Dr. Wilson says a grade I is "is this even a tumor". He has never seen a grade I. So, this is good news. It says that this tumor is "about as benign as they get". Obviously great news.

An oligoastrocytoma is a mixed glioma. There are four classes of gliomas: oligodendrogliomas, astrocystomas, anaplastic astrocystomas, and glioblastoma multiforme. These are in order, least malignant and lethal to more malignant and lethal. So, we have a mix of an oligo and an astrocytoma.

This tumor can do one of three things: it can continue to grow so slowly that with seizure medication it might not be a problem for Bryce for a number of years; it can begin growing more rapidly and become a larger problem very soon; it can de-compensate and become aggressive and malignant.

Dr. Wilson has released Bryce as a patient and is sending us to MD Anderson. We already had an appointment there, but nice to know that this was Dr. Wilson's recommendation as well. Dr. Wilson is positive that there may be new treatments available for the treatment of his tumor. We are also seeing a neurosurgeon in Dallas on Friday to get his opinion.

Bryce is off steroids as of yesterday and is feeling much more like himself. Nasty stuff, those steroids. He is tired and ready to move forward in this fight.

The entire family is very positive about Bryce's complete recovery. We need your prayers. Yes, please put Bryce on the prayer chains you are a part of -- we know the power of prayer in our home.

You may feel free to contact Bryce via email. brycemusick@hotmail.com
He is staying here at our home at this time. 1214 HIckory, Weatherford, OK 73096
He isn't able to work because of the medications but hopes to return to work soon.
Friends of Bryce who have his phone number, call him. He would love to talk to you.

Thanks for all your good wishes and prayers.

Debi, Roger, Scott, Hannah, Gabrielle, Ross, Kendra, Jordan, Casey, Cierra, Fitz, and Bryce

Summer Vacation

Scooter is getting ready to go on her first summer vacation at her grandparent's house. She'll be in the Top 'o Texas for a full week without her mommy and daddy. We would be going crazy, but we're going to be preoccupied with our own summer vacation. We leave the day before she does, heading to Seattle and Sasquatch Music Festival via Las Vegas, Nevada! Oh, who am I kidding, we are going to go a little crazy without our little girl. We haven't been apart from her for more than a couple of overnight stays with Meemaw or Aunt Allie, and I know how hard it is to do that!

Things we plan on doing to keep ourselves busy: buffets, gambling, staying out late, sleeping in early, going to museums, dining at fine restaurants, catching some local music, camping, hiking, staying at a B&B, shopping, seeing the sites, riding a ferry, throwing some fish, and running into old friends. We'll be apart for almost ten days, so we have a lot planned to keep us as busy as possible.

We love you Scout-Scout! We'll miss you incredibly, but we also know you'll have a ton of fun with your Marmie and Papa! xoxoxo!

oh the cuteness...and the shaky camera.

Watch it in HD. Yay Vado camera! And yeah, I know...it's almost five minutes long. But ask me if I care.

Mother's Day #2!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there! I hope your day was filled with sweet kisses and hugs and alleviated diaper duty. We had another wonderful Mother's day, here at the hizouse.

J and S let me sleep in this morning until 9 a.m....which might have been the best treat of all. Then, I awoke to Einstein bagels and coffee and mother's day presents and cards. I am blessed to have such a thoughtful and sweet little girl!

We then prepared ourselves for a day of biking and outdoor activities. J outfitted my bike with my new distance/calorie counter and we loaded up the bikes, trailer and baby and headed south the the Veloway. It was such a nice afternoon for riding! We observed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center and trucked through the Veloway trail. I'm rather proud of myself for pulling the baby and making it out alive! I didn't make it all the way up the big hill, but I'm hoping to be better prepared next time!

Then, we went to the SoCo Food trailers and enjoyed some Hudson On The Bend Mighty Cones and Hey Cupcake! cupakes. :D After a short nap, we aired-up Scout's swimming pool and she donned her new polka-dotted bikini and we spent some time in the backyard and splashed in the pool!

I'll post some pics and video this afternoon...must go change out the laundry and a dirty diaper! Back to real life!

in my next home:

I want this

A note about sleep.

Sleep is important for many reasons, and honestly? I thought once Scout started sleeping through the night, I would be SOOO well rested. Back to my "old self." No more bags under the eyes. No more grumpy mornings. Loads of energy.

Lately, it's not been the case. After reading about cases where Chinese drywall has led to illness, I'm beginning to question our walls. ;) Okay, not really. But, what the heck is up with my lack of feeling well-rested?

I'm hoping that in a couple of weeks, when we go on our baby-free vacation (sad, I know)...I'll be able to sleep. Yeah right. ha. I'm already counting on being rundown and worrisome the entire time we're gone. Funny, how I used to tease and taunt Jay about how he can't relax...even on vacation. Doh!

So, with that...I'm going to assess our room's Feng Shui and see what I'm doing wrong. I'm pretty sure the pile of laundry at the foot of our bed is messing with our chi.

Internet love.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Forget the swine flu, and have a margarita! :D

Happy birthday, JB!

To the best husband, friend, and daddy on the block. Here's to another fun year!