Monday, September 23, 2019

The stars

One of my mom friends, Bridget, who also has a child on a medically complex journey posted a song on Facebook with the words, "Might seem strange, but sometimes a romantic song can actually change its meaning when you have a child", she went on to say "If you're a mommy of a non-verbal child; this one's for you."  For the past couple of weeks, our house has been slightly obsessed with listening to "The Greatest Showman" songs on Spotify, on the house Alexa, on YouTube, literally, anywhere we can get the songs playing.  I love all the songs on the soundtrack, however, "Rewrite the Stars" is the one that if you pull up next to me driving, you can bet money I will be belting out the words as loud and off-key as possible with tears in my eyes or rolling down my face.  

It seems to be the perfect duet with Sonzee these days.  Almost every single phrase I can relate to her life and our situation.  From the heartbreaking reality that "Fate is pulling you miles away And out of reach from me", But you're here in my heart".  To the literal facts that I am sure she feels, "You think it's easy You think I don't want to run to you But there are mountains And there are doors that we can't walk through".  Which leads me to the basic question, "How do we rewrite the stars?"  

Oh gosh, if only we could, if only it actually was possible.  No matter how many times I listen to the song the words crawl inside my heart and just sit there.  These last few weeks have been ridiculously brutal on Sonzee, on Sam and me, on our marriage and general family life.  The situation we are placed in is not normal and shouldn't even be considered normal in our special needs, medically complex, "atypical" world.  Decisions have been made, choices have been made, but there is no winner.  There is no winning in this lottery.

"No one can rewrite the stars", but "Say that the world can be ours".  "Say that it is possible, because "It feels impossible...We're bound to break and my hands are tied".

The Mighty Contributor

Thursday, September 19, 2019


This week we had Sonzee's monthly TPN/Lipids appointment.  I prepared myself for the possibility of not so desirable information being shared just so I wouldn't be caught off guard this month, but sitting there I realized that the fact that she is receiving an intervention such as this, requiring monthly appointments means that any optimistic mental preparation is nearly impossible.  I am bound to be caught off guard over something.  Listening to her doctor talk about things we have heard thousands of times and have even said ourselves, sometimes seem to be heard as if they are being shouted via a megaphone for the first time.  I feel like they are the answers to the choices, but since I wasn't ready to accept them I didn't really hear them previously. 

I left this month's appointment giving in to the fact that a central line is here to stay, her body will always need some sort of IV nutrition or fluids, and she will never be able to maintain her nutrition or comfort via her j tube.  Deep down I have always known this was her fate.  But this month it makes me angry, it makes devastated, and it makes me wonder what would have happened if we never put this option on the table to begin with?  I feel stuck, torn between which perspective of quality of life we are honoring.  The one where she is comfortable so she can actually enjoy life and wondering if being attached to tubes and having central line access allows her to actually enjoy the life that has now become comfortable. 

Depending on either perspective we have new decisions to make with new choices.

The Mighty Contributor

Monday, September 16, 2019


I wonder what it is about September and my inability to get my thoughts out of my mind.  I am thinking it is because this month historically tends to bring about undesirable thoughts or just doesn't do much to bring closure to any situations we are currently facing.  I have spent the majority of the previous two weeks not even wanting to sit down and write.  A few times I did consider it, but then decided I wasn't ready to make my thoughts completely public.  One additional time I began to write and two paragraphs in I was met with a barricade and haven't gone back to see if I am able to finish.  Tonight I am watching the time tick by, my eyes are blurry, but for some reason, this piece of paper keeps calling me back to it.

There is a constant lump stuck in my throat and tears that are literally a blink away.  4.5 years ago I couldn't have imagined a more delicate, emotional, and challenging journey to unfold for us.  4.5 years ago she was doing so well comparatively, and we were going to have the child who "broke the mold", who was the outlier, who didn't check off every damn box in the potential for CDKL5 directory.  4.5 years ago I told myself that she probably wouldn't sit, and if she did it would be around 3 as a method of self-preservation, but deep down I rooted for her, and could envision the excitement and party that was definitely going to unfold when she DID meet that milestone.  4.5 years ago we were blissfully unaware of the struggles that were occurring within her body metabolically and gastrointestinally speaking.  4.5 years ago we took it all day by day but woke up each day celebrating whatever Sonzee-stone she met.

Today on the couch in our living room we had another weighted conversation.  This wouldn't be the first of its kind this month, and it certainly won't be the last.  They are conversations that I never anticipated could occur in a casual manner, as we were drinking some cold brew, and while two of our kiddos were running through the house.  Conversations that prompted us to keep sending the one child who was old enough to understand on various expeditions to keep him out of earshot because it probably wasn't the most appropriate conversation for a child to be overhearing.  But as everything else CDKL5 related, we find ourselves dealing with a new normal, of completely abnormal and just going along with it, because that is all there really is for us to do. 

The Mighty Contributor

Monday, September 9, 2019


A week ago everyone was home from school, the day was perfect to be outdoors, and without even second-guessing anything, we took Sonzee's port needle out and she was able to spend her day in her favorite place, the pool.  Despite losing time on her TPN/Lipids, it was an obvious choice. On Tuesday my phone rang and it was her endocrinologist's nurse.  I can't say I was not expecting this phone call, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that it should have occurred weeks ago and I was just waiting for it to happen.  The insurance kinks of her bone infusion have been worked out (I knew this weeks ago, but didn't rush to tell the office) because we have yet to decide is if it is in Sonzee's best interest for her to undergo the infusion.  On Wednesday Sonzee ended up with a fever and the protocol with the central line is anything over 100.4 becomes an automatic ER trip, yet we didn't exactly rush to take her in, the odds were in her favor that it was "just a virus", and lately the consideration of hospice has been on our minds.

Choices.  This journey presents us with the illusion of choices.  A choice is deciding on what is for lunch or dinner, or what drink you want from Starbucks.  By the way, all of those, thanks to the type of choices we have been presented for the past 4.5 years evoke major anxiety and panic attacks.  How is it even considered a choice to decide if Sonzee should go in the pool and have fun or be given nutrition?  Why do we have to decide to attempt to strengthen her bones to maybe prevent fractures and improve her bone health or keep her from experiencing 6 weeks or more of pain that historically wreaked so much havoc on her body she will cry to be picked up and won't be able to tolerate feeds for weeks?  Why are we even having to consider if we should be switching our 4.5-year-old daughter from palliative care to hospice care? 

None of this makes sense. Processing that this is part of our journey knocks the air out of my lungs. These choices might not have a "right" or "wrong" answer, but the results of each choice impact her life and our family's life.  There is no way around sugar coating the immense amount of weight that we are bearing.  I wish the biggest choices we were faced with were, which after school activities she wanted to be participating in, what lunch she wanted us to pack, and does she want to sleep with a nightlight on in her room?  But, that isn't our reality, and that isn't how life with a CDKL5 mutation works, so I will wipe away my tears, pull on the big girl panties, and try to do this right.

The Mighty Contributor