Saturday, January 30, 2010

Aria's Broken leg!!!

Earlier in the morning I had sent an email titled "A Weighted Spirit" and it basically detailed the intensity of this journey. It was a heavy email and although I was feeling heavy when I wrote it, I felt lighter and liberated after having sent it. Later in the evening, we went to Reo's baseball game and Life threw us a curve ball. Aria broke her leg! What follows is a series of emails I sent detailing that...This is life..

April 29, 2009
Subject: Aria is on her way to the ER

We were at Reo's baseball game this evening at a wonderful park. She was playing on one of those huge jungle gym type things and twisted her leg going down a slide. We can't tell if she's broken her leg or not. She wouldn't let us get near her to look. The last time she was in this kind of pain was when she was first diagnosed. At the park this evening she screamed, "I'm injured! I'm injured!" Doc carried her to the car, while I took Reo out of his game. Doc dropped Reo, Rianna and I off at home before taking Aria to the ER. Reo was devastated he couldn't go and be with her while she was having x-rays. He came into the house in tears saying, "Mama, it's all my fault! Aria wouldn't have gotten injured if I didn't make her go. It's my fault and you won't let me be with her." I had to sit with that one a moment so I wouldn't burst into tears. I explained to him that it wasn't his fault and that it was just an accident. I reassured him that she'd be fine. He's truly shaken up though. Our hearts our broken and they've already been broken so this is that much more tender....Keep us in the light. ~j

April 29, 2009
Subject: Aria ER update

Doc called about 2 minutes ago. They suspect that Aria has broken her leg. They were getting ready to access her and give her morphine before taking her down to x-ray. I'm completely....I don't know what the word is....nothing seems to fit. I'm so sad and horrified that I can't cry...yet.....will let you know more soon. ~j

April 29, 2009
Subject: Aria broke her leg

Doc called a few moments ago and Aria has suffered a classic mid fracture of her tibia. The fracture is complete but well aligned and they were getting ready to put a cast on her when Doc had to hang up. Will let you know more when I know more. ~j

April 29, 2009
Subject: Final Aria update for this evening

Doc just called. Aria is resting comfortably. They have put on a split like cast to allow room for some swelling. I'm to expect a phone call tomorrow morning to arrange to take her back on Friday for a full cast. Doc said that an orthopedic surgeon was consulted. She said that Aria's fracture looks classic and well aligned that it ought to heal nicely without the need for any surgical intervention. What a relief.

I have to tell you, I'm about to lose my cool here. I am so sad about what happened that I have no idea what to do or where to put the emotions I'm feeling. I was cleaning toilets when suddenly this thought entered my mind, "Oh my God, what if she got a broken leg because there's some kind of lesion. Maybe she has metastatic cancer and this broken leg is revealing that." Of course I could barely stand the thought and had to try to put it out of my mind but it was there. So when Doc called just now I asked, "Hey Doc, did Aria break her leg because she has bone cancer?" Doc paused for a moment and said, "Oh no honey. The ER doctor and I both looked at the films. We were looking for that very thing. There was no pathological sight anywhere around her fracture. The orthopedic surgeon also said she didn't see any pathology and in fact said that Aria's bone health looks really good. The ER doctor apparently went on to say that they are seeing more fractures just like Aria's because these new slides have connecting plastic pieces where the kids get their sneakers caught going down the slide and their legs bend in weird breaky kind of ways! He also told Doc, "I'm such a mean dad. I don't let my kids bounce on trampolines and I don't let them play on playground sets!" Doc said he laughed and told him that as we were driving home I had mentioned, "I hate playground sets!"

Aria and Doc are coming home in a little while. I have no idea how the night is going to play out or the next couple of days. She isn't allowed to bear any weight at all so I'll just have to figure that out as we go. What a total bummer. I'm so sorry for her...Please keep her close and in the light of yourselves! ~j

May 2, 2009
Subject: Aria update!

Good Morning everyone!
I just wanted to tell you that everyday is better and better.

Thursday was the worst day I can remember in a long time. Aria was in so much pain and the temporary cast was just plain uncomfortable. This on top of the kids sensing my stress and my constant nips and barks, "Rianna! Honey...don't..stop.don't..honey, please don't go near Aria's leg. No, please, don't climb near her. Honey! No. Please. Don't-don't-don't.Just come over here!" or "Reo, sweetie, please be quiet. No don't shake those star wars things at Aria. Please, honey, get away from her leg. Hon, please stop! don't!" It felt like I was doing that all day long even though I know I wasn't. I understand fully that I was completely anxious about anticipating something happening and my words were nothing more than the manifestation of that stress and worry. I also understand that I was simply being protective. I was telling one of my Goddesses last night that if I had a more constructive sense of internal peace that I would behave more presently and not out of fear of what might happen or of what could happen. Instead, I would be entirely focused on what is happening. In this instance, what was happening was that Rianna and Reo were simply being themselves. In Rianna's case, she was curious, concerned and playful. I really doubt she would have been a spazz, suddenly feeling compelled to jump on Aria's leg like some kind of trampoline. If I had been more in touch at the time, I would have invited her to look at Aria and I would have gently explained to her what was happening. Instead, my explanations were short, quick, defensive maneuvers that weren't really all that helpful. Don't worry. I'm not being too hard on myself. I'm simply observing my behavior and my thoughts so that as Aria continues to heal or should the next time this kind of thing happen, I can be more aware and perhaps more awake!

Aria's pain was hard to manage on Thursday. We were using oxycodone that was left-over from last year. The dosing we had was probably too low because it was based on her weight at that time. She has since gained 10 pounds but we were feeling conservative anyway. Her pain medication helped for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours and that last hour before we could give her more was pretty miserable. At 4 am Friday morning, Aria was shrieking in pain. Her eyes were as wide and bewildered as I've ever seen them. I don't think she was able to recognize or really see anything. She was shaking her head and writhing, pounding her hands beside her body. Naturally we gave her more pain medicine but it was taking longer to kick in. She was moaning and screaming, "ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow!" Oh my God. It was the most wretched horrible thing. A true nightmare was unfolding before my very eyes. Finally, Doc couldn't stand it anymore and decided that she needed another dose of pain medicine, "Julie, I feel comfortable giving her another 2.5 ml. She is just not doing well." At this point, I didn't care. I just wanted her pain to go away! He gave her another dose of the medicine and within minutes she was calm. Mind you, minutes before, she was screaming and begging for help, crying but there were no tears. When she relaxed and her breathing began to stabilize, I noticed a single tear fall from her eye as I lay next to her. This is when I finally had my own cry...Doc and I stayed awake listening to her breathe making sure she was ok. Finally as the sun was rising Doc and I fell asleep for a short while.

We woke up early and got her ready to go see the orthopedic surgeon to get her permanent cast put on and to learn about all the details of her care. She was in wonderful spirits and we gave her another full dose (5ml) of her medicine because we knew her leg was going to be manipulated and we wanted to minimize her pain and discomfort. We kept Reo out of school. He was convinced that only he was going to be able to explain to the doctor what had happened. It was adorable. He told everyone he encountered with this puppy dog look and a pleading sort of tone, "Our poor Aria got injured at Medical Lake WaterFront park on the slide. She broke her leg on one of her bones!!!" It made me laugh and smile. He is so protective of her.

We arrived at the orthopedic surgeon's clinic and I filled out 6 pages of paperwork. It was an incredible experience to list all of Aria's medication and to check several boxes of 'things that apply.' I didn't feel devastated this time. I felt accepting and perfectly grounded. I'm healing.

As I was filling out questionnaires, Doc was chasing Rianna up and down the hallway. She was giggling and screaming with delight much to everyone's cheer. People were in such good spirits. Aria was sitting in a chair with her leg propped up perfectly at ease. When we were brought to an examination room, Reo introduced everyone and began telling the story of Aria's dramatic leg injury. It really was so sweet! The surgeon came in and talked us about the next 6 - 8 weeks that Aria will be in a cast. For the first month she'll wear the full length leg cast she's in now. Her toes are exposed and about 3 or 4 inches of her thigh below her hip. The rest of her leg is immobilized in a gorgeous bold purple cast. It is wonderful! We talked about having a gortex water-proof cast put on but the surgeon said that they don't typically put that kind of casting material on legs. The gortex itself doesn't breathe well and is unforgiving on the skin. Furthermore, it is much heavier than the regular cast material and since Aria's cast is already heavy, she doesn't add to that weight. However, after a month of non-bearing weight in this cast, if the fracture is healing well, then they may change her to a cast below her knee that will enable her to walk a little more and we may be able to try the waterproof material. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. The surgeon, Dr. Smith, told us that in about 2 weeks Aria will want to start moving around and walking a little. She told us that many kids hobble around like cartoon characters in these huge casts and are fine. She'd prefer we not let her walk around, but sometimes there's just no stopping kids. Aria is accustomed to laying low, so I really don't think this is going to be too much of an issue. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there too. The surgeon was optimistic and didn't think that Aria's cancer and subsequent chemotherapy should have any negative impact on her bone healing but isn't entirely certain. It may take longer but we'll just have to see.

Aria slept most of day yesterday (friday). She was comfortable and never once complained of serious pain. We changed her pain medication to tylenol with codeine and that helped a great deal. I noticed that when she was sleeping she twitched occasionally and unlike Thursday in the temporary cast, she didn't wake up screaming in pain. I should mention that the reason why she wasn't casted straight away was to allow for her leg and foot to swell. As it is, her cast will appear to be loose in the morning and tighter at night. It will get tighter when she's on steroids because she tends to swell then. This is all normal fluctuation and variation. In any case, it was so wonderful to see her sleep through her twitches! She slept last night 8 hours straight without needing pain medication. Around 4 am, Doc woke her up to go ahead and give her some and take her to the potty. She slept peacefully for the next few hours.

This morning, she's been playful and full of spirit. I brought one of the kittens to her to hold, which she did for a long long time. That was very healing and soothing for her.

I'm keeping her out of school for at least this next week. I don't know about the rest of the school year. She attends 2 1/2 hours a day and this is a lot of carrying her to and from along with keeping track of Rianna. Right now, in this moment, that seems like too much for me to consider. But who knows how I'll feel in a couple of weeks. I may request a wheelchair and let her go for a few days. We'll see. I have to learn about this cast and maneuvering her in and out of my car and her car seat. I have to increase my level of confidence before I venture out too far. The way things are going now, I am very optimistic!

I can't thank you enough for all your encouragement and thoughtful messages and prayers. It helps so much. This was a huge blow to come across our path. Initially it was so shocking that it seemed almost unmanageable but the truth is, it is entirely manageable despite being a complete tragic shock. I could let it block out the light and the joy of this journey and I did momentarily but I realize that it isn't that powerful. I realize I am more powerful than it. It will take some time for me to chip away at it in order for me to resume my journey as I was a few days ago, but I will and I welcome all the new things I'm about to learn. This is another opportunity for me to pause, pay attention and reach the potential for which I was designed. It is what is. I am who I am. I am present. I am able. I carry on. ~j

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