Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And the diagnosis is...

Severe hip dysplasia in left hip, and moderate in the right. She also has curves in her tibia (opposite of bowlegged), which the doctor said may cause some concern down the road some time. This was one of the biggest decisions we have made lately...don't know if we made the right one or not, only time will tell.

The Dr. said the best thing would be surgery that would cost $2000-$3000, however we can't afford that, so we are going to do the medication route, which is glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM for now, which should get her a "healthy" (for her) 4-5 years. At which time arthritis will probably start setting in, which then we will add a pain medication along with the other meds to help with that, which could get her another 3-4 years. I have read a lot on-line about dogs with severe hip dysplasia and they do the medicine route and they live a healthy 12-13 years on the medicine. We really want to give her a good 10 year life, and we think we will be able to do that. Who knows...maybe some day we will come into money and can pay for her to have never knows. The Dr. said she could play, go for walks, up and down steps, etc. We figured if she went back to the shelter, they would probably label her "unadoptable" once they called our Dr. and got the medical diagnosis, and they would put her down. I just had a really hard time with that, I guess I just have a soft heart, and she is/acts so "normal" you would never know about all of her problems. The kids love her, we did talk to them about if it was so bad that we couldn't give her a good life, we would have to take her back...just telling Becca that made her cry, I couldn't imagine telling her we took her back. So...her treatment will cost about $18.00 a month (pretty cheap compared to the least right now, depending on how long she could be more than the surgery...I'll take those odds though...I want to be that family that writes that we did the medication route and our dog lived another 12-13 years).

Ok...enough with that...

Nothing much is new. My mom's birthday is tomorrow, so we celebrated with her and my sister/brother in law tonight. Kids are good. Jason and I are good. Mollie has taken all of my emotional energy lately...I feel so tired...I'm ready for bed. Just glad that she is here, we know what to expect in the future, and we have a dog (that has some birth defects), but that we love anyways!!!
I don't like looking at the camera...but aren't I pretty???

Who me??

Monday, October 20, 2008


OK well we went to the Vet today. Not the best visit for us. Mollie is showing signs of hip dysplasia and cried when the vet manipulated her hip joint. This could mean dysplasia, it could be a mild case which will be treated with glucosamine, or it will be serious and will need surgery ($1000's it will cost). She also does have an irregular heartbeat, which could possibly be normal, but they won't know till they do an EKG. So...we are taking her back to the vet on Wed. to have x-rays of her hips done and an EKG done. Knowing our luck...both will be bad and we will have to make a VERY difficult decision. The kids are already attached, and I am even more than the kids. OMG can't anything be easy!!!

We are going to call the Humane Society today and let them know what our vet found and at least let them know that they may be getting her back, or if she would need surgery see if there is any way they might be able to get the surgery at cost, etc for us at a vet that they work with. If she was our only dog, the decision might be easier, but we got her for a playmate for Quincy. It's not fair to either of them if we force them to not play together. I think the "roughhousing" they do is making her more stiff and hurting more than at the beginning. She got pretty mad at him this afternoon and growled a really "mean" growl at him. I don't know...part of me is really mad at the humane society. I know they don't do any of the more expensive diagnostic things such as xrays, ekg, etc. But at the same time it would have been nice if when we were in there (just Jason and I) they would have said "we notice she has a funny gait which could be hip dysplasia and she has an irregular heartbeat). We might not have even pursued her because of this. But no, they don't tell us anything until the kids go in with us and meet her and we have already paid the $85.00 fee. That doesn't seem right, does it??

Keep your fingers crossed, and hope for the best for us. We can deal with a mild dysplasia and a "normal" irregular heartbeat. We can give pills, etc. We just want to give her a "good" 10 years or so as our pet...we just don't want to be burdened with a dog that will cost thousands of dollars to give a "normal" life to. That may sound really bad to all those dog lovers out there, but we have to be realistic to our family and we can't afford thousands of dollars for a dog that may not even be able to function as part of our family. We'll see....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Meet Mollie!!!

Mollie, so far, has been a good addition. She is very gentle with the kids, and she runs and plays just as hard as Quincy. Our only concern is she has a funny gait when she walks. Looking at her past records, it looked like it is something that has been a concern for a while. Of course, the Humane Society didn't say anything about it "before" we said we would take her. Hip dysplasia is the concern, so when we take her to the vet tomorrow we will have to find out if they think we need to x-ray her to determine if it is is actually hip dysplasia....we'll see.

Here's some pics from today!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Dogs and such

OK...well we are going tomorrow to pick up a new dog from the humane society. I am SO excited. She is an Australian Shephard mix and absolutely cute!!! Quincy and her got along great...granted it was WWF in the run at the Humane Society...but they did get along. The kids don't know, it is going to be quite the surprise.

I went to Hardy's Reindeer Ranch today with is such a neat place. I really want to take the kids up to see the reindeer. They are so cool and very gentle. If you do go, pay for the "reindeer tour". The owner lets you go in this little area where all of the reindeer come up because they know you are going to give them a treat. You can pet them, touch their antlers, feed them, etc. It was really cool and my participants really enjoyed this part of our day.

Jason's brother and his wife (Dave and Melissa), Sarah (sister) and parents came over today for dinner and to hang out for a little while. It was nice. We don't see them very often, so it was nice for the kids to spend some time talking with them and just seeing them. My ENTIRE family lived in Champaign when I was growing up, and we got together with all of my aunts/uncles/cousins every Sunday at my grandma's house (our house now) and had dinner together. We are/were a close family (not so much now that grandma is gone), it is just so weird/bothersome for me that my kids don't see the O'Connor side of the family more often. We pretty much see Jason's parents 6 or so times a year, for maybe 3-6 hours at a time. His brothers/sisters less often. I know everyone has a life and works, etc., but it is just really sad to me that my kids don't have more of a relationship with them. I'm very glad that my mom is here in town and she "spoils" my kids. She gets upset/sad when she doesn't see them every couple days or so. I always swore that I would do whatever I could so my kids would have a relationship with Jason's family, but it is harder and harder with kids to pack them up, put them in the car for 1 1/2 hours, unpack, etc, etc. And other things have happened in our families that have definitely put a strain on our relationships with everyone...I guess I just need to be happy about the relationships that we do have and cherish those.

OK...well I'll post pics of Molly as soon as I take some tomorrow...hopefully!! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bradley update and Backyardigans

Well, I heard back from Mr. Trout and we (Jason and I) go on October 21st to meet with him. It will be a 75 minute consultation where he will get to know us, Bradley (from our side and the report from the CDC), and he will talk to us about how Bradley's brain works the way it does. We are VERY excited to go and talk to him. He doesn't think Bradley would benefit from talking with him, so we may have to get him into therapy through Carle to work on some of the issues...I guess we will wait and see what Mr. Trout suggests and go from there.

Carle also sent out the report, so I can get the names/numbers of the social worker/OT/etc. to get Bradley some evals from each of them so we can get him into therapy with each of them. It totally sounds like so much, but we are ready and willing and want to get Bradley the help he needs. Yeah!!

I took Becca and James to the Backyardigans on Tuesday...if any of you remember our horror story from the show in Bloomington...this was A LOT better. Both of them did really well and enjoyed it immensely. James was SO much better than I thought he would be. He sat in his seat the ENTIRE first half, and then pretty much most of the second, however fell off and hit his mouth on the seat in front of us, cut his tongue and bleed profusely. Never fails. Good thing this was at the very end of the performance and we left pretty much after that.

Well, that is the exciting news of the week. I do have pictures of the kids at the Backyardigans...hopefully I will get them on soon. I'll keep you updated about Bradley and our therapy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

weekend update

Well, it has been a beautiful weekend, and the kids have enjoyed playing outside. Saturday I had to work over at the Youth Literature Fest on the South Quad, so Jason and the kids came and hung out with me all day. They had activities for the kids, puppets, bands, storytellers and such. We had a good time.

James and Becca at the Youth Literature Fest

After that we came home for naps and the Illini game...GO ILLINI!!! When everyone got up/game ended we headed out to the mall. Jason, Bradley, Becca and James all got their hair cut, then we ate at the food court, and then left to go visit with my mom/stepdad for a little bit. She was home with bronchitis...again.

If you look in the background, you will see all 3 kids were getting their hair cut at the same time.

Sunday we woke up late, the kids and Jason left for CCD class and James and I stayed home and hid clues for a scavenger hunt. We are trying to figure things out that Bradley and Becca can do together to help "build" that relationship. They thought it was pretty cool, but the clues were too easy, and they want to do it EVERY weekend. The last clue said something like "We're so glad you worked as a team, you have earned a trip to go out for ice cream". So, we went to the Illini Soccerfest and had lunch, played on the inflatables, watched some of the game (we aren't big soccer fans, so this was something new for us), and then went to DQ for some ice cream.

When we got home James laid down for a nap, the older 2 took Quincy on a walk, I continued to do some laundry (it never ends, does it?), Jason mowed, and then we just hung out. It has been a nice relaxing weekend.

I have enjoyed this weekend with the kids, even Bradley. There have been some times when I have had to bite my tongue so I don't yell at him, but overall he has been really good and it feels good to do things as a family and see all 3 kids have a good time. Bradley has been very talkative and wants to be out of his room and hanging out with us (which is a new one for us). We didn't tell him what the doctors told us, but it seems that since WE found out, he has been a different kid and it has been OK hanging out with him. We are doing our best to tell him when he is making good choices and when we are proud of him for making those choices and that we trust that he will continue. A lot of the treatment is going to be our conversations with him and not yelling/screaming at him when he really screws up. I feel that we are off to a good start, my only fear is that when we finally get to go in and see this new therapist he will say we are doing everything wrong. We are doing the "nurtured heart approach", so I don't think we are wrong and actually a lot of the stuff we have been doing are things that they recommend, so we are learning about ourselves the same times we are learning about Bradley.

James has been curling his tongue ALL the time, and I finally got some pictures they are.

Well, another weekend is almost doesn't seem fair that we have to work for 5 days, and only get 2 to relax. OH WELL!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Diagnoses and such...

So, we went on Thursday to find out the results from the Child Diagnostic clinic. They diagnosed him with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), ADHD, ODD, a sensory disorder, visual processing problems, etc., etc., etc. A few years back we thought he had some attachment disorders because Bradley and I have a much more "distant" relationship, which is a symptom of RAD. It felt good to know that it was one of those diagnoses that Jason and I thought of a while back...too bad we didn't push any more on it. We feel that we lost 6 years of trying to help Bradley. The Dr. did say that he was on the mild side of it, but it is still there. Bradley has some symptoms of a whole bunch of different problems...Autism, FAS, etc., or at least we thought. The Dr. wants us to see Michael Trout here in town, he is the expert on RAD and she really thinks that he can help Bradley a lot. I called his office today, however he is in Canada at a speaking event...figures...doesn't he realize WE need him. We also have to get him into some social skills groups, there is a therapist here in town that works with children with Autism. Bradley and children with Autism have a lot of social skills deficits that are VERY similar and the Dr. thought that Bradley could benefit with those social skills groups with those children. We got a lot of info from the Dr., we went and bought "Transforming the difficult child: The nurtured heart approach", I checked out a book from the library by Daniel Hughes (who is another expert on the disorder), we are READY. A lot of the actual treatment will be Jason and I's approach on everything, how we talk to him, how we discipline him, behavior plans for school and home, making sure our families know how to treat him, what to do for him when his anxiety starts and how to handle that, etc. I know I have put a lot of etc. in this is because there is so much and it will be hard. He won't be "healthy" tomorrow, next week, next may take years, and it will probably be something he/we work on for his entire life. Jason and I just want Bradley to succeed in any way he wants and be a successful part of the community. If anyone has any info or ANYTHING about RAD, our ears are open...we are ready to change.

So, everything else in our life is good. Went down to Tuscola to shop, Becca got sick all over Old Navy's floor, and we came home and had to take Grace home (she was suppose to spend the night). Bradley went to the U of I volleyball game with Belinda and had a really good time.
James has cute all 4 two year wonder he has been fussy, not wanting to eat, etc.

Jason and I are emotionally drained. I know we wanted to know what was wrong with Bradley, but now knowing it infuriates me. I cried most of Thursday on and off between grief and just being pissed off at his parents...I HATE them!!! I know hate is a terrible word and I would never want my kids to use it or whatever, but his parents did this to him. They abused, neglected their own child, how do people do that to their own flesh and blood?? I know "grief" sounds weird, but a part of Bradley is missing, possibly forever...will he ever be able to look at me, hug me, kiss me, love me on his own?? He has never once came up to me and hugged me, kissed me, etc. He is my son, I love him (sometimes "conditionally" and I am working on that), but I do love him... I said if anyone knows anything...PLEASE let me know. Gotta get some sleep, unfortunately I have to work AGAIN tomorrow.