September 20, 2013

Game Player

Jake is starting to play games with us. The first one I noticed last week ... He is purposely biting down on the spoon and not letting me take it out of his mouth after a bite. He laughs so hard and thinks its hilarious. He keeps doing it for every bite!

Then, a couple nights ago, he took a sip of water from his cup, looked right at me, and let it dribble out of his mouth. I acted shocked and said what are you doing silly, which delighted him. So he did it again! And again and again! For several minutes this went on, and we are we're laughing SO hard. 

I love seeing him realize he can do things to make us laugh. 

The darker side of this new personality coming out was on display when he crawled over to an electrical outlet and was trying to get the baby safety plug out of it. I said "Jacob, that's danger. No touching!" He smiled and went right back to grabbing for it. I walked over, crouched down, offered him another toy and said again "that is dangerous to touch and you may play with these other toys." I stood up and started walking back to the kitchen. I heard a Jacob noise behind me, like trying to get my attention "Meh!" I turned around, and there he is crouching in front of the outlet, with one hand on it, staring right up at me with a smug smile on his face.

Look out world, here comes Jacob! 

In other news ...

Since the end of July, I have been experiencing severe pain in my neck, left shoulder and left arm, and weakness in my left arm. At first I thought it was simple muscle strain from sleeping wrong, tension or physical activity, etc. But after a week of the pain getting worse instead of better, I went to a chiropractor. He took x-rays and reported seeing signs of disk degeneration, cervical (neck) spine curving the wrong way, arthritis, misalignment ... Some serious issues! But he assured me with just a few weeks of coming to his office, he could cure me! I was freaked out enough to go see a spinal dr before proceeding with any other treatments. The spine dr prescribed medication for the pain, but was most concerned about the weakness in my left arm - an indication of damage to the nerves. I had an MRI done, which showed a herniated disk at C6-C7, with much of the disk material protruding out the left side where the spinal root comes out, sending signals to the left triceps muscle. He said surgery will be necessary almost immediately to prevent further nerve damage. He recommended ACDF surgery, which involves removing the disk and fusing together the vertebrae above and below. This came as a big shock, as I was mentally still thinking of this as a small problem that would go away pretty much on its own. 

I researched drs and set up appts for a second and third opinion. In the meantime, I had an epidural spinal steroid injection to reduce inflammation and pain. Visiting the second and third drs was enlightening.  They both also said that my exam and the scans point towards surgery being the most likely outcome, but that they would not recommend ACDF. Cervical disk replacement is a newer, less limiting, more favorable surgical option. The recovery time is faster, and the ability to lead an active lifestyle is greater. The last dr we saw, Dr. Cattorini, suggested there are some conservative treatment options yet to explore before we determine surgery is absolutely necessary. This includes a series of 2 more steroid injections, along with physical therapy and cervical traction.

I am in the process of this right now. Physical therapy is going well, and that was the first non-pharmaceutical thing that started to help with the pain. The initial steroid injection did not help at all. I got a lot of relief from the second one. I am in the per-op room right now waiting to go in for my third and final injection. In tow weeks, I will return to Dr. Cattorini to assess progress and see if we can avoid surgery. So right now I am feeling good overall.  The pain is much less than what it was when this all first started. I am down to taking pain medicine 0-1 times per day, usually later in the afternoon as the activity and strain of the day builds up. I know the issue is there still because I feel it in my neck/shoulder blade area and down my arm, especially my forearm. But it is not nearly as intense as before, and for that I am grateful. 

At this point I don't know how this story will end, but I do feel confident that we are doing everything we can to help this resolve without surgery, and ultimately if these things don't work, then surgery may be necessary to enable the nerve to rebuild conductivity to my left triceps, and to make the pain go away for good. 

September 15, 2013

Standing & Cruising

At 10 months, Jacob started standing up and cruising along furniture. He absolutely loves his independence and I sense that he knows he is getting closer and closer to being able to keep up with his big brother.

He has also started walking easily while holding onto our hands. He has no hesitation and gets right into an easy gait, one foot ahead of the other.

This week, as he turned 11 months old, Jacob started standing on his own! He first just did it for a second, and now he goes for 2-3 seconds. It's only a matter of time before he puts steps together with that balance :) And then, it's a new ball game. For now, I am enjoying these last baby days before we get into toddlerhood.