Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Modern society invades my home

My kids are leading a fairly sheltered life. We are very active in our Catholic church, the kids all attend Catholic schools and nearly all of their friends are Catholic. But, this past week, they made some new friends.

Last Monday, our neighbor's house caught fire. They have lived there for less than a year and, even though we know them well enough to say hello, we really don't know them well. That has now changed. When I saw the firetrucks, I immediately went over to check on them. They had an attic fire that started above their four year old son's room. It was a chilly morning and they were all huddled together in the front yard while the fire department did their job inside. I offered to take the kids (Christy, 7 and Ronnie, 4) to my house while the adults dealt with the aftermath. The kids gladly came with me and they got along great with my kids.

I am always careful of what my kids are exposed to when around new people, especially new kids. I am particular about what movies and T.V. shows my kids watch, what toys they play with, etc. Also, I tend to eavesdrop on their conversations because you never know what some kids are going to "teach" my kids.

So, here is a conversation I overheard between Christy and Sophia.

Christy : I have two dads and two brothers. One of my brothers is older than me and lives in Bishop so I don't see him much. You're lucky you get to see your brothers a lot. My cousin has three dads and two sisters but she never gets to see her sisters. Two of her dads lived with her at the same time and she used to call one of them uncle, but when her dad moved out she had to start calling her uncle dad. How many dads do you have?

Sophia : Umm. I think I just have one.

Christy : Only one? So how did you get so many brothers and a sister?

While trying to smother my laughter at the total befuddlement of both girls, I was also greatly saddened. For Christy, immersed in "modern" society, multiple fathers and random siblings is completely normal. Divorce, remarriage, half siblings, step siblings, all of these are everyday occurrences for most people. However, we are quite happy in our sheltered little world with one father, one mother, and regular siblings that you have to live with all the time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My latest medical update

I do my best not to focus on the pain and fatigue that my RA causes me. Some days are better than others, and right now it happens to be nearly impossible to ignore.

For many, many weeks I have been taking Prednisone in addition to my regular RA medication, Methotrexate. I hate taking Prednisone. It makes me moody, anxious, moody, hungry, and moody. Did I mention moody? Well, I have tried weaning off, but my pain and fatigue quickly return, so I am temporarily stuck with it. I visited my rheumatologist on Tuesday and, when he listed to all my current maladies, he suggested we switch up my meds. I have known this was coming (which is partly why I haven't been to see him in months) but I am at the point where I am definitely ready for something to change.

So, after a ton of blood work (9 vials!!) I will be starting Enbrel this next week. Enbrel is one of the newer, injection style treatments for RA. Many women in my RA support group are taking it and each one of them has had wonderful results from it. I will, for the time being, remain on the Prednisone and Methotrexate. The Enbrel will take 4-6 weeks to really start working and once it is working then I can start scaling back on the other meds, starting with the Prednisone. Once I am completely off the Prednisone we will try reducing the Methotrexate. I have at minimum a few months before we will now how the new meds are working, but I am hopeful that I will start to return to a more normal state. Well, normal for me at least.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall Luncheon

I posted some pictures on Facebook, but I thought I would post a few here with some explanation on the Fall Luncheon for those unfamiliar.

Every year, Sacred Heart School hosts the annual Fall Luncheon. Every year there is an overall theme with each table doing a different take on that theme. There are twelve tables, each seating 40 people. Table hostesses are responsible for decorating their table, providing small gifts and raffles, and generally ensuring that your table guests have a good time.

This year's theme was Golden Jubilee since this was the 50th anniversary of the Luncheon. Our table decided on a 50th wedding anniversary as our theme. Other themes included Queen's Jubilee, King Midas, Golden Ticket (Willie Wonka), Pirate Treasure, the Oscars, Hollywood Walk of Fame, California the Golden State, etc.

For our table we were able to find parishoners who had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, so we were able to honor them at our table. Our color scheme was white and gold and we were even able to get a wedding cake! The table, though a lot of hard work, turned out beautifully. The two most important parts - our guests were pleased and we were able to raise money for the school.

May God continue to bless Ernest and Maria Columna. They are truly an inspiration for us all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank God for health insurance

Today, I am celebrating the fact that I have great health insurance!

Today was Sebastian's first of many visits to the dermatologist. I really liked the doctor, despite the fact that he looks about 12 years old. He was great about taking the time to explain everything to me - not only the specifics about vitiligo, but also the many treatments available. He was quick to explain that there is no cure and, though there are many treatments, not every treatment works for everyone. The biggest concern is that this vitiligo is called "confetti" vitiligo, meaning that it doesn't have a regular pattern but is scattered all over the body. Confetti vitiligo can be very aggressive, but the doctor is fairly confidant that we will be able to slow/stop progression because we are catching and treating very early in it's development.

Step one is a non-steroidal topical immuno-suppresant. As I said before, his immune system is attacking the melanocytes, so the hope is that this topical will suppress his immune system only in those spots. If this doesn't work, we will then graduate to a steroid based immuno-suppresant. There are a number of these with different levels of steroids that we can try. If none of those are helpful, there is also treatment with UV lights. The doctor definitely doesn't want to think about that yet due to Sebastian's age. He doesn't recommend UV light therapy until at least 10 years old or if the vitiligo is really severe. So, we were given a prescription for his cream and an appointment in 6 weeks. The doctor made sure that I understood that if the spots increase or worsen before the 6 weeks we should get in sooner.

At the pharmacy counter, I was surprised to be charged $30 copay for this tube of ointment. Then I looked at the "actual cost" - $256!!! Holy cow!

So, today I am extremely thankful for Kaiser Permanente. I know that not everyone thinks highly of Kaiser, but I couldn't be happier. With Sebastian's first visit to the pediatrician, there was never a hesitation to run tests. On Friday, I emailed the doctor requesting a referral to dermatology because I was concerned about finding more spots. By Monday afternoon I had an appointment booked for Wednesday morning. All of this, on top of the prescription cost, makes me so relieved that we have the insurance coverage that we have.

I know that not everyone is as fortunate as we are, and I pray those who aren't able to receive the health care that they need.