Sunday, August 12, 2012

Catch Up

In an effort to catch up on our happenings, I am going to try to post pictures of what's been going on with the Gates family through pictures. I may not write much, but at least I can have a little bit journaled through pictures.

A few disclaimers 
  1.  I'm skipping our trip to Hawaii from January. That's what's been holding me back. Going through the 3000+ pictures (I'm not exaggerating. Have you ever gone anywhere with my husband when he has his camera?) was overwhelming, so I just haven't done it. Then I passed it on to Chuck to do while he was lying in bed recuperating from surgery, but Twitter and playing Acquire were higher on his list of activities to do while passing the time.
  2. I like to date the posts to when they actually occurred. If you are interested in seeing what we were up to earlier in the year, you will need to scroll past Chuck's recent surgery posts.
  3. I have 10 weeks (or less) before baby #4 comes and if the gender of our baby is going to be posted on here before his/her 1st birthday I want to get the rest of the year up here first.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Trekking out (Post-Fundoplication - Day 5)

I am recuperating from my Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication quite well.

I am sleeping much less, only a couple of hours more than my regular schedule. I spend most of the day in bed watching TV or on the computer (mostly Twitter, Facebook, & Richmond Times-Dispatch).

I am feeling much more energetic; enough so that I can go out for an hour or two before coming home to rest. My first venture out from my recuperation bed was going to church (only Sacrament Meeting) on Sunday, which exhausted me.

Today, we went to Lowes (my 2nd home), and then Walmart. By the time we got to Walmart, I was feeling a bit more tired, so I drove around in one of those electric carts.
Ashley posted this to Facebook:
He's not allowed to drive a car,
but that didn't stop him from
driving a cart around the store.
(Note: Although the date and tone of this blog post make it appear that it was written on July 23, it was actually written on July 26 because I need to improve my blogging timeliness.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Home again! (Post-Fundoplication - Day 2)

I came home around today around noon. Than slept most of the day.

As part of my surgery, they pumped my belly full of carbon dioxide. While they try to release most of it, some of that gas stays in your body until it can be 'released naturally.' But, until then, the gas raises inside your body, creating painful areas in your shoulders and neck.

I am on tylenol with codeine, which makes me sleep even more, but helps my neck and shoulders feel much better. The best thing about it is that, because I'm on a full liquid diet (don't get me started on the "full" designation), my medicine is a tasty, liquid that makes me feel like a kid.

(Note: Although the date and tone of this blog post make it appear that it was written on July 20, it was actually written on July 26 because I need to improve my blogging timeliness.)

Food! (Post-Fundoplication - Day 2)

I'm feeling much better today because I finally got some food! I was not allowed to eat anything yesterday other than water. By the late evening, I was starving.

My nurses have been very kind. They like me because I am quickly feeling better and don't call them very often. Yesterday, I felt well enough to unplug my IV pole from the wall, and take myself (and IV pole) to the bathroom.

This morning, I got up, went out to the hall and said, "So its morning now, can I have something to eat please?" I had thought that I would be on a liquid diet, which meant true liquids. Come to find out, I am on a "full liquid" diet, which isn't fully liquid in any way. It means I can have applesauce... and ice cream!

I started with applesauce. Then went on to ice cream. When they brought breakfast around, I told the lady that I probably didn't get breakfast. She said, "Nope, you can have this "full liquid" breakfast or Cream of Wheat, yogurt, and juice."

(Seriously, do these people not own a dictionary? The definition of 'full' reveals its synonyms as 'complete' or 'entire.' Now exactly how can applesauce or ice cream be described as entirely liquid? But, when you have not eaten in 32 hours, you don't question people who let you have ice cream for breakfast.)

The second bonus of today is that I got to watch all of the coverage of The Open Championship (aka the British Open). I scheduled this surgery perfectly!

Happiness is breaking a 32 hr fast
w/ surprise discovery that a
"liquid" diet includes applesauce
(& The Open Championship on TV).

Ice cream, u scream, we all scream
for breakfast in the hospital!

(Note: Although the date and tone of this blog post make it appear that it was written on July 20, it was actually written on July 26 because I need to improve my blogging timeliness.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I've been shot! No, actually just fundoplicated.

This morning, I had Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication to fix my GERD issues. The surgery took less than 90 minutes and the doctor said that it went extremely well. I will be staying overnight at the CJW - Johnston-Willis Campus of the CJW Medical Center.

Before my surgery, the hospital gave me these
supper snazzy socks to wear.

The 5 "bullet holes" from my
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication

(Note: Although the date and tone of this blog post make it appear that it was written on July 19, it was actually written on July 26 because I need to improve my blogging timeliness.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday! You need surgery!

As part of my tireless effort to personally fund the college education of the children of every doctor in the Richmond Region, I continue to pursue a remedy for the chronic cough y’all have come to know and love.

Over the past few years, I have been diagnosed with asthma and sleep apnea, both of which contribute to the causes of the cough. However, the doctors have now identified GERD as the most likely cause of my cough (and possibly to my asthma).

You may know that a few weeks ago, a gastroenterologist performed a esophageal endoscopy to implant a small transmitter inside my esophagus to measure the ph levels just above my stomach. (Yes, the same doctor who made me eat radioactive eggs in March.) As part of the endoscopy, the doctor found that I have a hiatal hernia, which is the cause for my severe GERD. Unfortunately, medication alone does not seem to be alleviating the symptoms and the cough comes back frequently.

Today, as a special birthday present to myself, I went to see a specialist surgeon about the next step in possible solutions. She gave me the gift of telling me that I needed surgery to repair the hiatal hernia. So, in July, I will be having a Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication. Despite its name, it is not “fun” and does not involve winning a new Nissan Altima. In actuality, the surgery can be summarized as tying a knot in my stomach (see video below or a shorter 36-second video).

The surgeon has told me that the recovery will require me to be out of the office for 1-2 weeks. I have arranged for the surgery to take place on Thursday, July 19, with the plan for me to return to work on Monday, July 30.

The good news is that the surgery will force me into losing more weight, which should enhance the progress I’ve made with my asthma, sleep apnea, and ruptured spinal disc. As a result of the surgery, I will be on a liquid-only diet for 10-14 days, followed by a soft food diet for an addition 14-21 days.
Problem: Hiatal hernia

Surgery – Short Video (0:36)

Surgery – Longer Video (4:42)
More detailed animated video that discusses the problem and the surgery

(Note: Although the date and tone of this blog post make it appear that it was written on June 12, it was actually written on July 26 because I need to improve my blogging timeliness.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

May Fun

Our crazy girls.

Here a little more serious.

For Leland's birthday my mom got here a butterfly garden. We got some caterpillars, watched them turn into chrysalis and then emerge as painted lady butterflies.

We released them one night with Nana. It was so much fun.
The Johnson's came to visit for Memorial Day weekend.
We love living in the RVA!
Fabulous Mother's day breakfast prepared by Chuck and the girls. Eggs, sausage, cinnamon rolls, and fruit salad served inside a papaya. Yummy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Leland turns 7

I guess Leland is getting to an age where she wants a legitimate birthday party, with friends, not just our family. I finally gave in and we settled on a party at home with several friends. She had 2 requests - butterfly cake and a pinata.

The wonderful thing about having fabulous friends is that when you feel so busy with life and work that you can't figure out when you will have time to make your daughters birthday cake, a friend offers to make the birthday cake for you and does a fabulous job! Thanks Heidi!
We ended up with 11 kids at the party and it was lots of fun. They made some crafts, played in the backyard with bubbles and played musical chairs.
Then it was time for the pinata. Screams and cheers could be heard down the street I am sure. It was loud and crazy and seemed to take forever to break it open. I'm sure the fact that Chuck would pull the rope so they couldn't reach it had a lot to do with it too.
We are so grateful for Leland in our family. She is very helpful and likes to think she is a grown up. She is a great leader and loves to be the "director" at all times. She loves school and loves to learn. We are so thankful that Heavenly Father sent her to our house to live.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

County Fine Art Festival

Leland loves art. She was very excited when one of our art pieces was chosen to be displayed at the County Art Festival. It was a huge event where all types of artwork were displayed from every grade level of every school in the county.

Leland was very funny about explaining how one area of the the project she had messed up on and how she "fixed" the mistake. We were grateful that Nana was visiting for the weekend so she was able to go with us.

The girls were most excited about the face painting by some high school art students.

Bon Air Fun Run and 5k

Leland ran her school's 1 mile kids run. She had lots of fun running a race "like mom"
My mom and I ran the 5k which was lots of fun. This was my last preggo run (13 weeks) because I started having some numbness in one of my legs and the doc said no more races until next year.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter with Nana

The girls and I spent Easter weekend with my Mom. I've never had my girls dye eggs for Easter before, so my mom was excited to break out all her egg dying kits.
A lot of the dyes that she had were old and not working well, so we opted more for painting the eggs.
We went strawberry picking. Always fun.
We went to the community Easter Egg Hunt. It was set next to the water and was just gorgeous.
The Easter bunny that was there was pretty creepy. During the hunt, Charly found one of the bonus eggs, but she refused to go near that bunny to get her prize. Leland went and got it for her.
We took the ferry with some friends over to Aurora Fossil Museum. It was a cute little place including a fossil digging site filled with leftovers from a local phosphate mine. We found lots of shells and sharks teeth.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Topsail Island

We spent a few days in Topsail Island, NC with Chuck's family.
The whole crew.
Our girls. They loved having all the hair accessories from their aunts. I don't do the bows as big as your head like they do and the girls loved looking through them.
Our family
Grammy & Papa and their grandkids
The weather was not the best, but the cousins still had a great time.

This is where we told the family about our new baby. We put together these great reunion shirts. Everyone drew a self portrait of themselves. Our family is above the 'S' and we put a little stork by us. I was the one who printed the shirts, so the big reveal of the reunion shirts was also our announcement. It was great!
Chuck got up really early to take pictures of the sunrise. I enjoyed my sleep and enjoyed the sunrises through the 300+ pictures he took.

On our way home we stopped in New Bern, NC. It is such a cute little town.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monument Ave 10k

Last year I had so much fun running the Monument Ave 10k that I decided to do it again. A few weeks before the race we discovered that I was pregnant and I figured since I had been preparing for the 10k for a while, my body would be fine (and it was).

It was a great race despite the drizzle of rain most of the race. It's always fun to have such a cheering squad waiting for you near the finish line.
Crossing the finish line. I was a little bummed when I realized I was just barely over my time from last year (I wanted to do it faster), but then Chuck reminded me that I just ran a 10k 9 weeks pregnant, so I felt better. 

I'm so grateful for Heidi & Josh and my sister Christine all did the race with me. It's become a fun tradition for our family. Can two years in a row become a tradition already so that now we need to do it every year?
We hit up Sweet Frog on the way home which is always a hit with cousins, but not such a hit with a preggo lady that just ran a 10k. Chuck had to pull off the side of the road for me to puke on the way home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Snow Day

One weekend we went up to Baltimore to visit friends and family. The forecast for the few days included snow.  I was excited because I thought surely north of Baltimore would get more snow than Richmond, so this was a great weekend to play in the snow.  I packed all our snow gear to take with us on the trip. Well the weekend came and went with no snow. We had a great weekend with cousins and friends, but I never pulled out the camera, so no pictures of that part.

But we came home to this -

We got home with just enough daylight to quickly make a snow man because I was certain the snow would be gone in the morning.  Chuck and the girls did an awesome job.

Sure enough, the snow was melted in the morning and the next snow day we only had enough snow to make these:
PS - It's kind of fun to look at snow pictures in the middle of summer when you are pregnant and "enjoying" 95+ temps. It reminds me that I'm grateful for seasons and that nothing lasts forever.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Dinner

I decided I wanted to try out starting a new family tradition and have a fondue dinner for New Year's Day. Everyone really enjoyed the "new" way of eating dinner.
In a cheese sauce we dipped: bread, shrimp, kielbasa, broccoli, potatoes, and bread.
For dessert, pretzels, bananas, apples, and pineapple dipped in chocolate.