Saturday, November 19, 2011

School and a visit from good friends...

Its been almost a month since Callie has been to a whole day of school. Even as I write this, I am shocked that Callie has been out of school for that long. I have to say that in spite of the fact that I was nervous to go to the meeting with her teachers/principle, it went really well. They were all really compassionate and wanted to do what is best for Callie. It is so hard to know what to do for her because she is unable to keep up with school right now, but if the medicine works, she will be able to get back to her life soon. We decided that (for now) she would concentrate on English when she feels good enough to do school work. And if need be, she would make up the credits for this semester later.

Most of the time Callie is down with a headache. It seems though, that there is a small portion of the day that she is up and able to do a little work. So hopefully she will at least get to have her English credit. Well, really I hope that her medicine works soon for so many reasons, but one of them being school.

Callie has gotten a bit lonely lately. Today her friends, Beca and Emma came and spent part of the day with her. Callie told me multiple times how happy she was that they were here. At one point she had a glazed look on her face. I asked her how she felt and she said, "my head hurts, but I'm just so happy that they are here." When she said that, she looked like she was going to cry. All and all though, she had a good day. For most of the day she said that her pain was around a 6. She even went out for lunch. She didn't really eat much but at least she got out of the house with her friends for a little while. Its amazing what a little emotional pick me up will do for all over health. For which I am very grateful.

Callie just told me that she has a ringing in her ear. Her head pain is at a 7. I hope it subsides and she is able to get some sleep tonight.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Callie/ Update

Yesterday was a busy day for us. First, I took Callie to the Orthodontist to see if her braces were ready to come off. I was really hoping they were because with her head hurting so bad, we thought that it might help her feel better. I was excited when we were told that the top ones could go! It is so nice to see her pretty top teeth without braces. They really turned out nice.

Callie, was rather miserable though. Her head hurt really bad. She kept complaining that the left side of her head, and her left eye hurt the most. It seemed strange to me that it was hurting so bad because from her last vision test, her right side was worse than the left side. (Last month we were told that because pressure from the Psudotumor, Callie has some blind spots, which are worse on the right side.) Yesterday afternoon, I took her to the eye Doc. He found that her LEFT side has significantly worse blind spots, and her right side was only slightly worse. This was very disappointing . The Nero Doc saw the report this morning and called me. He said he wants Callie to see an Opthamologist, so that if she ends up needing surgery on her optic nerve they can be ready. I think I mentioned in my previous post that the most serious side affect of Psudotumor Cerebral is vision loss. The Nero Doc said that it shouldn't be a problem if we stay on our toes. He also said that if Callie has any vision changes (double vision, blurred vision, etc.) then to take her strait to the ER).

Today is my meeting with Callie's school teachers and principle. I am a bit nervous about it. I told the Dr. this, and he said that they cant fail Callie for being sick. I hope he's right.

On a brighter note, someone brought us some really yummy pumpkin bread. I think I've ate more of that than I should have.... Oh well we only live once right? Might as well eat all we can!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Callie/ Pseudotumor Cerebri

Pseudotumor Cerebri~
Pseudotumor Cerebri, are two nasty words to me. When I first heard them (just a little over one month ago) I could barley pronounce them. I remember talking to our Pediatrician (Dr. Baily) the morning after we first saw the Nero Dr. (Dr. Cook). I had to explain the condition to her because I couldn't remember the name.
Dr. Cook gave me a few papers to read on this condition. But, its basically when a person has to much brain and spinal fluid. This creates a lot of pressure, and as a result......... headaches.
Callie has had headaches for about a year now. Over the course of the year they progressed in frequency until they got to be daily, and even further until they became a 24/7 problem.
This is Callie's scale of pain.
3-4~ mild headache, normally she can ignore these and still do school work, play sports, watch t.v., hang out with friends, and so on.
5-6~ she can kind of ignore these, and do somethings like watch t.v., or visit with friends. Its just hard to focus on school work.
7-8~ she cant do anything with a headache this bad. No loud noises, no t.v..... Nothing.
Callie has never had a headache that she has described to be above an 8. I hope she never does.
Up until about the beginning of October her average headache was either at 5 or below. (75%) 5 or below. (25%) above a 5. Then, suddenly the tables turned and she started having bad head pain 75% of the time and mild pain 25% of the time.
In the last 4 weeks, Callie has been in the hospital 2 times. After 2 Lumbar Punctures (spinal taps) She has been "solidly diagnosed" with Pseudotumor Cerebri.
Here are some things I have learned about the condition....
1. It is VERY uncommon in children and teens.
2. It is scary. Her vision has been affected to a small degree. One of the bad side affects of this is vision loss.
3. If medication doesn't work...... Well, I'm just going to pray that the medication works.
4. Its depressing to read other peoples stories associated with this condition.
Callie is on a medicine called Diamox. It is suppose to help her body get rid of the extra Cerebral fluid. We were told that it would take a while before we notice a difference in her headaches. For now though, her head and eyes hurt really bad. I talk to Dr. Cook about it today and he told me to try to get her into an eye Dr. (hopefully tomorrow) to make sure her vision hasn't changed.
She hasn't gone to school in over 3 weeks (maybe 4, I'm loosing track of time). I have a meeting with her principle and teachers on Thursday to figure out what to do for her.
Today Callie and I were talking about how crazy it is that she went from being my biggest helper, right hand child, to one that needs me the most. Dr. Cook said that when kids develop this they normally out grow it. I am praying so hard that Callie does so that she can have a normal life.
So many people have helped us. I don't even know how to express my gratitude for all the acts of kindness people have shown to our family. Both while Callie was in the hospital, and since she has been home. I almost cry every time I think about it.
Callie was given a blessing when she was in the hospital the last time. She was told that trough this, she would gain experience. She was also told that her body would heal. I felt the spirit so strong, I believe that she will.
Soon, I hope :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This was a big summer for Callie! She was promoted from 8th grade, went on the trek and turned 14. It's so weird that she is getting so old. This may sound strange but ever since having Callie, I've measured time through her. It hard to believe that 14 years have passed. As I write this I cant help but think of all we've been though, overcome and learned. I'm so grateful for the Gospel, the atonement and for the sweet girl that I've been trusted raise.
A few of the things I love about Callie are:
She helps me out SO much.
She is fun.
She is sweet.
She makes me laugh.
She is good with little kids.
She always wakes herself up for school. (My mom would have liked me to do that!)
She is loyal.
I love you Callie. Thanks for being such a good girl!!!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

All About Eric

I dedicate this post to Eric.
Eric. Is. So. BIG!
Eric is Funny. He makes us laugh all the time.
Eric is living in the world of cowboyhood. I think it is so cute. I want to take him to a western store and buy him everything his little cowboy self desires.
Eric is loving. He is always quick to give hugs and kisses.
Eric loves to play with his "friends". I babysit a couple little boys his age and each morning when he wakes up he asks me if his friends are coming over.
Eric loves to help me cook. He always tells me he's my "cooker helper".
Eric is sarcastic. He loves to tell his dad that he loves the teams his dad hates.
Eric says sweet prayers.
Eric has the most beautiful eyes.
Eric is such a blessing in my life.
Eric had a b-day a few months ago, and is now #4. Because he has an April B-day, he barley made it into T-ball. He loved it. He actually wore his T-ball clothes today, and the season ended over a month ago!
I love you Eric!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jacob is 2

I cant believe that my little Jakey is the big #2! He is such a fun little guy! It seemed like he stayed a baby forever and then over night grew up.
Some of the big boy things he can do are:
Knows his ABC's and the sound that goes with each letter.
He is close to being potty trained.
He knows about 5 different songs.
He loves to dance.
He loves to get shaved ice from his dad (he calls it ice machine).
I feel so lucky to get to be Jacob's mom. He makes me laugh all the time. Happy b-day Jacob!


Shad is getting so big! I cant believe he is already 5 months old. He is such a good baby. Sleeping through the night and all. Its crazy that he looks so different than Jacob. I need to get him in for pictures. I've been using a black sheet for the backdrop of a few, but it just dosent seem like enough. Um, Tiffany?

Friday, April 29, 2011


Note: Pictures are in reverse order. In the first one he was 6 weeks old and in the second one he was 10 days old.
I just wanted to take a minute and post a little bit about our newest addition. Shad Benson Starkes was born on the 18th of February just 10 days before his due date. My pregnancy with him was by far the best pregnancy I have had. It really flew by, which could have been because I was so busy with our other kids that I didnt have time to notice I was pregnant! Although I could hardly miss the fact that I gained 50 lbs. Or that I now have stretchmarks on top of my stretchmarks! Oh well, he was WELL worth it.
Shad was 7.6 lbs and 21 in long. My labor with him was much like my pregnancy: fast and easy. I got to the hospital at 5:30 pm and he was born around 8:30 pm. I had the most wonderful epidural in the world. Brian compared it to going to a drive though rather than sitting down and eating at a nice restaurant.
Shad is now a whopping 2 months old and is so very sweet. He doesn't look like any of the other kids, which makes him fit into our family all the better.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Be my valentine?

My 4th grader, Tyler came home from school yesterday and said, "mom, we need to go to the store and get candy for my class party on Monday."

-Long pause....

"Ummmmm, and we need to get something like chocolate for my Valentine."

Well I was a bit taken aback and asked how he acquired this, "Valentine". He said that he asked her. Apparently all the boys in his class asked girls to be their Valentines, after all its just something kids his age do, he says.

I thought it was a bit funny. I went ahead and let him get her something, but I plan on keeping a close eye on this situation. A very close eye!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The end and the beginning!

So here I find myself once again, at the end of one stage in life awaiting the beginning of a new one. Pregnancy seems so strange to me. To think that I have a little person inside of me, is kinda weird! I wonder if he knows things I don't know, like what his life will be like, or even little things like what the color of his hair and eyes will be. I wonder if he has said good bye to people on the other side, or if the vial will be thin enough for him to maintain a relationship a little longer......

A littler longer...... Those three words seem huge to me right now. I have three more weeks until my due date. I have never made it quite that far, but this time I hope I do. I hope he can stay put until his awaiting family can get over their sicknesses. I hope while I wait a little longer I can clean a little, rest a little and spend a little time with the children and hubby, who are all waiting a little longer with me.

So this pregnancy for the most part has been uneventful. I never got morning sickness like with all of my others, which was a major blessing. Brian and I have talked several times about how we sometimes forget that I'm even pregnant. (Up until the last month or two anyway. Now I'm so big that it would be hard to forget!)

Yesterday a couple good friends had a "food shower" for me. Although I would much rather be invited to someones party than to have one of my own, it made me feel special and loved to have these friends help stock up my freezer with frozen dinners for after the baby comes.

Well, I feel bad that I have been bad about keeping this blog updated. I seems like time is moving so fast.... But I wanted to record my feelings at this stage in my life. I know that my life will be forever different in just a few short weeks from now. It seems so surreal. I'm a little scared of labor and delivery (like I am every time). I remembered being so worried before I had the last one and it ended up being my best labor/delivery. So, I hope this time around it turns out the same.

I hope.