Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy Weekend & A Ryan Update

Important things first:  Ryan Decker.

If you don't like ostomies, or stomas, or inconvenient medical realities...then you should probably stop reading here. 

 Otherwise proceed:

So there is this...

(To clarify, this is what an ileostomy looks like without an appliance and bag, just the amazing intestine sewn to the skin!  How insane, right?!)

This, good readers, has been my husband's reality for the last 10 months.  

Red, burned, inflamed, eroding, rashy, itchy, miserable, raw skin.  THIS is why we are pursuing an ostomy reversal right now.

  We don't know why his skin has lost its mind lately.  You would be the 134th person so ask if we have switched appliances, rings, powders, sprays, products, tried new medical companies, used steroids, try antibiotics.  No, it's not a yeast infection, a pressure ulcer, a food allergy, or eczema.  Yes, we have tried everything from betamethasone cream to zinc oxide, cool water rinses to benadryl cream.  

Four ostomy nurses, 1 dermatologist, 1 GI surgeon have all looked at this and been stumped.

One nurse took even took Ryan's skin issues to a local conference and presented the problem to another room full of wound/ostomy nurses...and ultimately no one knows why his skin is flipping out and getting worse.  It's not systemic, it's just around his ostomy.

So, why show this private image that isn't all that pretty or pro-ostomy?

Because ostomy life is not convenient AT ALL sometimes.  It's highly inconvenient when it's acting up to be quite blunt.  The amount of time we have spent changing Ryan, he has spent itching and miserable, doctor's appointments, nurses appointments, Internet searches, and advice sought has been fruitless and seemingly endless.  

He puts on a brave face throughout the day and when we go somewhere, but this is utterly miserable for him.  He can't keep living with his ostomy running his life (our life!) so we are hot on the trail of a reversal because it is our last and best option.

And we are pumped!  No pity parties here, just hope and relief for at least a shot at something different.

So we met with our surgeon last week.  Ultimately he is encouraging and willing to proceed with ostomy reversal surgery BUT we have to get a few things done first.  Ryan needs to have a colonoscopy to stage his Crohn's even more completely and make absolute sure there are no strictures or areas of stenosis in his large bowel.

If you hook his intestines back up with poop trying to flow through his large intestine and there is a severe narrowing, well, he would just be back in the OR to get an ostomy put back up.  No good.

He also needs to get an MR Enteropgraphy, high resolution magnetic imaging of his entire GI system, to check for Crohn's else where and again, other unknown areas of stricture or inflammation.  
We are doing our very best to work with two physician schedules, two medical offices, a ton of assistants/receptionists, Ryan's work, my school, and so many more details to get these procedures scheduled in a timely manner so we can get Ryan to the OR pretty much as soon as possible.  

We are really hopeful for this surgery and really, really hopeful that he doesn't have to live with that ugly reality that is his skin anymore.  Pray with us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight
Proverbs 3:5-6

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you
James 1:5

Well besides that big piece of news here are just a few pictures from our week:

I had an afternoon at home so I made a healthy snack, grabbed my new book, When Crickets Cry (HIGHLY recommend it!), and sat on the back porch.

The chickens roamed about while I read the the doodles watched them very intently and suspiciously

Speaking of doodles, these two crashed on the couch after their morning walk and stayed there for several hours.  Bums.

And I just thought this picture was funny :)  My sweet husband looking so good trying to help get my 24 week pregnancy picture right

We went to a cake tasting on Saturday morning for my baby shower. There is a fantastic cake shop in Arvada called Das Meyer that makes the most intricate, delicious cakes and pastries.  We all went to decide on a baby shower cake design and flavor.

It will be SO yummy!

Linny and Ryan enjoying every flavor imaginable

Ryan, myself, and my mom after we thoroughly enjoyed every flavor from Triple White to Lemon Poppyseed with fresh raspberry filling

More updates to come when we have them and please, please pray for Ryan, his skin, this potential surgery, and our decision making.  Gracias you wonderful people!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Baby Bump!

Ryan did a fabulous job at grabbing a pregnancy shot of me and baby D this morning!  What a photographer!  For awhile I was in between regular and maternity clothes but now maternity fit just fine and they are SUPER comfy :)

 We had such a good Sunday morning.  We (meaning me and the doodles) woke up, I had coffee and read in bed next to my sleepy head husband and then we went on a 1.5 mile walk and headed to church. 

We ran errands the rest of the morning and then just relaxed and enjoyed the rain before a busy week.  
The verse on our hearts this evening is from Colossians and we hope you enjoy and find encouragement in it too.  Check back tomorrow for a Ryan Decker ostomy/surgery update post and other random tid bits!

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 

Colossians 3:1-2

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pregnancy Weeks 23 & 24

Weeks 23 & 24 Pregnancy Questionnaire

Baby Size: Rutabaga

My weight gain os far:  
My midwives and I are divided on this.  My scale at home which I use at the same time each morning, wearing the same clothes tells me 18 lbs total.  At my last appointment almost two weeks ago one of the midwives told me I had gained 8 lbs in a month, totally over 21 lbs!!  One look at me and you know I haven't put on THAT much weight, especially so much in one month.  But alas, they gave me a talking to anyway and told me to eat more fruits and veggies :)

My pregnancy app I love is telling that at this point in my pregnancy I should ideally have gained between 13-19 lbs.  So I feel like as long as I'm keeping a close eye on it at home (which I do) and my weight seems to reflect what I'm eating and that I feel well, then I can't worry about scale discrepancies

Food loves: 
I'm always up for a big loaded turkey sandwich with lettuce and cheese, rice and beans usually sounds good, raspberry greek yogurt and chia seeds, pumpkin seed granola, chocolate chip cookies, salad with lots of good toppings, fresh fruit, anything grilled, or pancakes.  I love chocolate protein shakes and big bowls of mango and raspberries.  My ultimate love right now is the chipotle steak sandwich from ModMarket, oh yummy!!  The golden cherry tomatoes from the store are so yummy mixed with carrot sticks and snap peas.  And a big bowl of cinnamon Life cereal is always a great late night treat :)

Food hates: 
So many things STILL-sharp cheddar, grease, smelly fish, too much garlic, chili, red sauces, and eggs.  Oh the eggs-I tried to be brave and eat two hard boiled eggs with my breakfast.  Fail.  I literally had them in my belly for about 5 minutes before I was running to the bathroom puking.  I think I have a newfound sensitivity to eggs with this pregnancy.  If they are baked into something I'm a little better, but most egg preparations/dishes make my stomach hurt like a beast!

3 Pros of Week 23 & 24
1.  So much more movement!  More people have been feeling this little one kick and that is so much fun!  Rilyn was the first one besides Ryan to feel it and she was a very patient little lady waiting for her cousin to kick.
2.  Having people notice I'm pregnant!  Not that they didn't before but I've had so many fun, encouraging conversations with ladies at Target or in a restaurant that just want to know about this little peanut and they are so friendly
3.  Getting more excited about how close we are to meeting this little one!  The ladies of our families are throwing me a baby shower in a few weeks and it's so fun to think about getting the house and nursery totally set up for baby to come home

3 Cons of Week 23 & 24
1.  Carpal tunnel-STILL!   This is so so so so bad.  Most nights are ok but I notice a lot of pain if I ate more salt that day (more salt, more swelling).  The pain is exactly what I would imagine it would feel like to break your wrist.  And no, I am not exaggerating.  It's a cracking, burning, bone deep pain that shoots to your fingers and down your arm.  Wow, never had anything like it.
2.  Pelvic girdle pain.  This one is because my ligaments are just loosening up and preparing for birth but sometimes my pelvis just aches.  Heat helps though
3.  Heart burn!  Oh have mercy.  The worst is from peanut butter!!  How weird is that?!  I can usually kick it very quickly with some apple cider vinegar but pregnancy heart burn, well, burns!

Working Out:
It's a rare day that I don't get in two walks a day.  One in the morning with the doodles and one in the evening with Ryan.  We walk all over, to different parks and open spaces and I usually try to log 60 minutes a day.

My clinicals are pretty insane right now so I don't have time for much else, but the last two weeks have been great cardio workouts and I'm hoping to fit back in some biking and yoga once I'm done with capstone next Friday.

Best Moment of the Week:
My sweet husband took amazing care of me just a few days ago.  I was up with really bad carpal tunnel pain for a good chunk of the night so he promptly got me a ton of pillows to prop my (already braced) arms up and help the wrist swelling.  He rubbed my head and neck to put me back to sleep and was so kind and patient.  Then he woke up to me barfing up boiled eggs the next morning and without missing a beat brought me a warm washcloth for my face and fresh water to gargle.  Those were actually pretty sucky moments, BUT my incredibly servant-hearted, gentle husband kicked into action to take wonderful care of me and made me feel so loved.

This guy is still trying to convince me to love his favorite girl name :)  We can't decide on girl names!!  Anyone have suggestions?   We like Biblical names or at least names with a neat meaning--send them our way!  He is so wonderful at taking care of me and feeding myself and baby every two hours when we are together.  He walks with me every evening and just compliments and affirms me as my body changes and experiences some uncomfortable times.  So grateful for this man.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Random Things Per Usual

I feel like my posts lately are a big random combination but that's kind of our life right now.  Pregnancy, school, different social events, ostomy stuff, etc...

Oh well! 

We had a great Mother's Day weekend with our families.  On Saturday we enjoyed brunch with my family-baked french toast, fruit salad, bacon and sausage, and blackberry sage lemonade (thank you Pinterest and Linny)!

My mom and Linny both felt Baby Decker kicking around a bit but the little one has been quieter lately so maybe it's going through a growth spurt and sleeping more.

Linny feeling her first niece or nephew in the womb!

After my parents house, Ryan and I ran some errands and this was our incredible view!  

Those are the Flatirons of Boulder in the background but it looks like Ireland to me :)  The rain finally let up today which made my sad but also my floors are cleaner without two muddy doodles running in and out.

Colorado truly is the most gorgeous state

Sunday we woke up to SNOW on Mother's Day!  4 inches to be exact!  It was cold and slushy but we still headed down to Ryan's parent's house for a lunch celebration.  We had homemade quiche, fruit salad, a yummy Italian salad, and monkey bread.

We ate well this weekend!

Ryan started his Mother's Day off with some doodle snuggles on the bed...

Poppy curled up in his arms and Grumples looked dejected at the end of the bed.

There are always a lot of babies at any Decker get together but I did manage to get a picture with the current littlest, Aebrynn.  She was born so tiny at just under 6 lbs but has chunked up so nicely over the past few weeks!

I snuggle her to pieces and have fight over her with Rilyn (who is 4, ha)!

Anna, Rilyn, Aebrynn, and myself.  We are all rooting for our Baby Decker to be a girl to add some more femininity to this wild bunch of Decker boy babies!

This is George, my FIL, with some homemade cookies I brought for him.  He clearly was enjoying them.

This last quarter of school I have to take 3 big exit exams to practice for the NCLEX and they count for all my grade in my Capstone class.  The first one went well a few weeks ago but today...not so much.


I was bumming but then this was my walk green, sunny walk out the door and I got over it pretty quickly.

Denver is pretty rad in springtime

Ryan had Remicade today which my mom always takes him to.  They got breakfast at Chick-Fil-A per tradition and then he read Harry Potter the whole time while his IV pumped away.  We love his Russian nurse, Fena, who has the best accent and always takes such good care of him.

He is usually wiped out after the three hour infusion but he did well today and even worked a bit in the afternoon.  

On the ostomy front:  we meet with his surgeon tomorrow morning to discuss the results of the skin biopsies from the surgery two weeks ago and also keep the discussion up about the ostomy reversal.

Ryan's skin is pretty much telling us NO MORE ostomy appliances!  At least that's how it seems.  NO matter what product, spray, powder, ring, appliance, cream, ointment, prescription drug, or anything else we do to his skin...he is red and burned and itchy and absolutely miserable.  A lot of people, it turns out, pursue an ostomy reversal because their skin finally gives out and simply can't handle something on it constantly.

So the discussion continues tomorrow and we will see what happens.  We would like to see the process of a reversal happening very quickly because we do have a kiddo due in about 15 weeks.  We have waited over 10 months to make this decision with a lot of deliberation and prayers and professional advice so while we don't rush the decision overall...we are anxious now to get going and solve his medical issues!

Updates to come!

Oh you're healthy living advice for the day: sometimes when you are pregnant you just need a cup of decaf coffee and a sprinkle donut.  


If you think about, would you please pray for our decision with the ostomy reversal? That we would be wise and the potential surgery would be well timed and carried out.  That our surgeon would be divinely helped through the process and that we would be brave throughout everything in Christ's strength to do what seems very scary and very inconvenient with a baby on the way.

We need wisdom and guidance and lots of it!

Thank you :)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:15

Friday, May 8, 2015

Rainy May!

Everyone is Colorado is always surprised by rain in May but it happens every year people!  We are on an 8 day stretch of gray skies and down FAVORITE!

My husband knows that I adore the rain.  Nothing makes me happier than a walk in the rain, a cup of coffee with the rain on the windows, the smell of rain coming in.

Heaven :)

The rain has kept me from being in my garden much but I might get up extra early on Sunday morning to throw in a few leftover seeds in the ground and see what happens.  Definitely doing pumpkins again but this time in a big dirt patch to the front/side of our house.  There will be pumpkins galore!

This summer between graduation, passing the NCLEX, a baby shower, a beach-destined Decker family vacation (when I'm 34.5 weeks no less!), and finally birthing a baby...I think gardening is not going to be a priority this year :(

Oh well!  Happier things are happening.  Here is a little of what else we've been up to...

1. Chickens and flowers!

Our ladies are LOVING it outside!  They peck around, I let them free range a few times a week and they have worked up to special treats like meal worms and strawberries.  I can't wait until they start laying later this summer.

Oh and these are some little tulips I plucked from my garden awhile back when there was hail predicted.  My berry bushes are coming back strong and I can't wait until there is fruit!

That's one of our Americanas, the colorful egg-layer, walking down her ramp.

2. Ryan John Decker

This dude is so persevering.  Remember when he had his surgery last week?  Well he has bounced back fabulously and has been doing well.  A little soreness and a few little inconveniences but overall doing well.

The main thing with his ostomy  right now is the dang itchiness!  Imagine being unbearably itchy for 50%+ of your day and wherever the itch was someone taped over it with 50 layers of duct tape and you couldn't get to it!  That's his reality!  You cannot function like that.  Raw, itchy, sensitive, allergic skin is slow torture.

So that's why we are working so diligently these next few days and weeks to coordinate between his GI surgeon and GI doc to figure out solutions or see what other measures need to be taken.  Right now no answers, but we have appointments galore the next few weeks to figure it out.

My husband truly is the most hopeful, Jesus-dependent person I know.  

When a physical aggravation would be making others depressed and angry, he pushes on in the Lord's strength to find solutions and continues to be an amazing husband.  Wow!

We eat salsa A LOT around here!  This is my sister's homemade avocado, tomatillo salsa

3. House fixings

Anyone who says nesting is not a real thing in mamas-to-be needs to be kicked in the shins!  I have been "nesting" since practically week 5 of this pregnancy!  We are doing little projects around the house, cleaning up the yard, doing last minute painting and decorating.

Recently Ryan hung up these industrial shelves for me and I printed off some gorgeous Colorado pictures courtesy of one of our talented friends.

I rearranged the furniture and added the lamp to make a cozy little reading corner.  Many a morning I spend here with my quiet time stuff and a cup of coffee.  Or late at night curled up with a book.  It's so cozy!  

You need a reading corner now, don't you? 

4. Doodles.

Not much to say other than they love the mud from the rain.  The end.

Just kidding.  We have been working on leash etiquette because unfortunately they never are on a leash.  We only do big open parks or hikes with them so they are constantly off leash.

Our little Poppy never had any training with a leash #2ndchildsyndrome  

But I am bound and determined that they will be polite leash walkers so I can take all 150 lbs of doodle plus a stroller with Baby Decker this fall on walks.

It will happen and they did amazing this morning on our 40 minute walk!

5. Pregnancy!

We have recently nicknamed this wild child in my womb, Baby Griz.  Short for Grizzly Bear.  This child kicks and moves and has energy like there is no tomorrow!

If you ever want to be thoroughly amazed at God/freaked out, come over right before bed and watch my stomach ripple and move and contort to crazy shapes!

So our Baby Griz gives is happy and healthy in there which makes this mama very proud.  I had a midwife appointment yesterday that my very kind mom took me to.  We heard the heartbeat at 150, learned my placenta is at the top of my uterus and to the back (perfect placement!), and my uterus is measuring exactly 24 cm (I'm 24 weeks tomorrow).

 I just got to brag about how wonderful this pregnancy is and be thankful for a healthy baby!  My next appointment is that awful glucose tolerance test which I am NOT looking forward to.  Other than that I'm working on our birth plan and looking in Bradley method classes for labor.


Me with my eyes mid-blink on the exam table.  And a little afternoon snack of fruits and veggies to keep the little one well fed!

That's about all that is happening here today!  We are having brunch tomorrow with my family for Mother's Day and hopefully getting out to putt-putt if the weather allows.  We always putt-putt golf on Mother's day :)

Sunday we host the entire Decker tribe at our house and I'm whipping up two Pioneer Woman quiches.  A heart attack from the butter awaits us all but it's SO delicious!

Happy early Mother's Day and happy weekend!

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone

Colossians 4:5-6

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Few May Things

Our May is just getting going but it's already off to a good start!

I have been cranking out my final nursing clinical every week and loving it!  I do two 12 hour shifts per week and it's nice to just get the time done when I'm there.  I have to complete 150 hours so that about 13 shifts.  I'm halfway done and though I love it, can't wait to be done with school too!

June 19 (graduation) cannot come soon enough!

My responsibilities at my clinical include admitting patients, taking their health history, starting their IV (my favorite!), getting vital signs, and prepping them for surgery.  Afterwards, if I'm place in the PACU, I receive report from the OR nurse, monitor them for an hour doing different checks and vital signs, administer meds with my preceptor and eventually get them out the door.

It's low key enough that I'm no totally exhausted all day but just enough to keep me on my toes!

Here are a few other little things we've been up to:

This sweet girl came down with Ryan's parents for a little visit.  After brunch she ASKED to do the dishes.  She always wants to do the dishes so I wasn't surprised but she loves being a helper and is so good at cleaning :)

Ryan had a minor surgery this last week.  

The doctor's wanted to do some "maintenance" on his large intestine to keep that organ working should we ever consider an ileostomy reversal.  When they put up his ilesotomy, they left his large intestines so in a sense it is "temporary".  

We really would like to avoid major surgery at all costs and did this for routine purposes and to stage his Crohn's.

They also did a few skin biopsies because Ryan has been unbearably itchy for a long time around his peri-stomal skin.  So we will get those results in a few weeks but expect nothing to come from it.  The procedure was an hour and he rocked it like a champion.

I think his little face here looks so pitiful but he really recovered very fast and did so well!

This morning we enjoyed a long breakfast on our porch.  We just pulled out all our patio furniture and I bought a bunch of flowers to spruce up the front porch and back deck, so it was so fresh and pretty out there.

So we ate french toast and fruit while the sun came up, the doodles wrestled and our little chickens pecked around in their coop.  

Such a perfect morning :)

This week I have more clinicals of course, a midwife appointment, Ryan plays frisbee,  we have some very fun Mother's Day plans next weekend, and just life happenings!  We hope you have a sweet week too.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pregnancy Weeks 21 & 22

Weeks 21 & 22 Pregnancy Questionnaire

Baby size: A spaghetti squash

My weight gain so far: 16 lbs so far!  I totally pleased with this amount because it right where I need to be just a few weeks over halfway in the pregnancy.  I was just moaning to Ryan about "how soft" my body has gone haha BUUUT while I may not have rock solid abs this little one is kicking and active in there.  And active baby = healthy baby so I'll take the body changes anyday

Food Favs: Meh I'm kind of so-so with foods again.  Nothing sounds awesome, nothing sounds awful.  I do enjoy big loaded salads still, Ryan's breakfasts, fresh fruit salads, and our friends made us a killer chicken stir fry the other night!  Anything with peanut butter or strawberries is OK with me and I gobble up smoothies and healthy trail mixes. I also made a big batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies so that was a hit 

Foods hates:  The usual. In particular, ground meat items and grease.  Just no.

3 Pros of Week 21 & 22:
1. Baby D is finally and predictably kicking every day so that Ryan can feel him or her.  It's always at 6:45 a.m. when I'm first waking up, around 8:00 a.m. again, and always, always when I lay down at night to go to bed.  It's hard to feel any kick mid-day when I am around friends or family (little one is asleep) so it might be a bit until others are getting to feel the kicks.
2. We had a fantastic ultrasound this last week where we learned out little one's head is enormous, his or her legs are very long, and we saw our sweet little peanut yawning and hiccuping.  Every body part is there and growing and that perfect little heart is beating at 150 bpm.  Absolute bliss.
3. Being taken care of :)  The ladies I work with at my clinicals, Ryan, my family, all our friends...I have endless people taking care of me and this baby.  With sweet texts, gifts, baby items, surprises, help, and just general thoughtfulness.  Baby D and I are well loved.

3 Cons of Week 21 & 22:
1. Carpal tunnel.  Whew-wee this is actually pretty horrible.  I had a cyst in my left wrist drained about 2 years ago.  Since I have more fluid on me with this pregnancy I am swelling a bit at night in my hands and wrist and I think re-flaring the cyst.  Well the extra pressure on the carpal tunnel in the wrist is EXCRUCIATING.  I actually told Ryan the first night it happened I thought I might have broken my wrist in my sleep because the pain was so intense.  Turns out a special brace has really helped so things are improving.
2. Like I said above, just having a "softer" body.  I know the extra weight is needed and has a lot of benefits.  I would still say I'm in pretty darn good shape at 22 weeks and can bike/hike/walk etc.  But it's quite unusual for me to just not feel toned up.
3. Skin issues still.  This little one has my chin breaking out like I'm in middle school.  Not a fan of that.

Working out:
Walks, walks, walks!  It's the most gentle on my joints and I'm happy with the pace I can keep to get my heart rate up.  Ryan and I walk the track at the nearby middle school and of course there is an open park the doodles and I love to do 1-2 miles in the mornings.

When Ryan plays frisbee on Tuesdays I walk the loop around the park and make sure I always have one "intense" day of cleaning for a workout when it's rainy out.  You can build up a sweat vacuuming and dusting and mopping!  I'm doing 50 wall push ups a day, usually while the doodles eat their breakfast.  Other than that I like to keep it simple with the walks since I know it's safe and good for me and baby D.

Best moment of the week:
This was so wild but we saw my stomach moving the other night!  Baby D was kicking around in there around 9:00 p.m. and my stomach was rippling and moving and extending wherever a hand or foot came out.  It was so crazy!

We have set up our baby registries for my June baby shower and Ryan did a lot of research about products and such.  He wants the safest baby gear and I love that!  He finished his picture frame for the baby's room and it really look so professional.  He has gotten very bossy about making sure I don't bend over too much or lift things which is SO sweet and I quite love it.  Other than that we are debating over names and I have a new favorite girl name I'm trying to talk him into :)  He is, as every other week before, the most amazing future daddy


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