extremely boring yet somewhat dramatic medical update

okay, it's clear you people prefer to hear about the drama in my life rather than look at my pictures ;)(sorry sheena, but how else do you convey you are teasing? i hate it too, and yet there it is!)

here's the problem, i prefer to post the pretty pictures and pretend life's just dandy and moving along as planned. only it's not, so i suppose i'll tell you about it. it mostly revolves around my health, specifically my MS. i've been having a relapse since mid-may. remember the patch? argh. the symptoms subsided for a while, but in the past month or so have been getting stronger and slowly moving through my body. i am now numb/tingly/i-don't-even-know-how-to-describe-it up through my chest plus my arms. it sort of feels like i'm wearing a corset-all tight and stiff. it might have been easier to say my neck and head are feeling normally? i feel like a stiff old lady when i wake up, which is quite entertaining for steve as i shuffle through the kitchen with my hair awry. that is all somewhat expected, but lately i've also been feeling like i was hit by a train in my sleep. my quads and calves, which are essentially wasting away, are surprisingly sore. i'm eating everything i shouldn't (yes, meat, for shame, and lots of it. and chocolate because at least i can still taste wonderful things that make me happy for five seconds.), but despite that i'm still sort of wasting away. i weigh less right now than on my wedding day, a number i tried very hard to get to (i'm not the only one that was terrified to be seen naked, right?). meaning this is weird. really, really weird. but i hadn't ever skipped out on the steroid iv treatments in the past, so up till yesterday i was just under the assumption that these symptoms are really what MS is all about and i had been lucky in the past. maybe true, maybe not.

you see...track back to december 2005. i have just had my second set of MRI's which will be compared to my first taken in may 2005 at the onset of my symptoms. i had also had a lumbar puncture. my doctor brought me and steve (it's not steve and i, but please don't make me give you an english lesson in the middle of all of this;) into her office to explain to me that i indeed did have MS. she reviewed the findings from the MRIs and, in passing, mentioned a "syrnix" on my spinal cord which extended 5 vertebrae as well as a protrusion on one of my dics. no big deal- she basically blew it off saying it's just like a scrape from some sort of trauma and moved on with my MS diagnosis (no hot tubs or showers, no exercise, no anything). oh, and here's an antidepressant (i didn't take it). it was grim.

since then, as you know, i have been doing pretty well. i switched doctors to one who advocates alternative and natural medicine in combination with modern/traditional medicine. the day i first met with her felt like i got my life back. or at least some control over it. pregnancy and nursing seem to keep the MS under control and until this summer i haven't ever had a relapse that has really affected my daily life. i met with my doctor in may at the first sign of symptoms, and she mentioned, as though i was supposed to know already, that my lesions are on my brain stem. um, what did you say? yes, apparently my lesions are in the worst place possible, yet somehow my original doctor failed to mention that and allowed me to pursue the most mild therapy option (it was my choice, but i clearly didn't have the facts i needed in order to make the right decision. i definitely should have started something more aggressive). but because of our financial situation (i.e. no insurance), the best option for me was clearly to get pregnant now and start an aggressive therapy later-which would have been perfectly timed to steve's graduation and a job with good insurance. but i wussed out-how could i justify having a third kid when i only have two semi-operating arms? what if this pregnancy didn't work magic on my MS like the others and i instead was left with one more kid that i can't care for the way i'd like to? so...we're still going back and forth on that. luckily, though, we are back on insurance and have more options.

which brings us back to now. i called my doctor last week and told her (well, the receptionist because i have yet to meet a real live doctor that will actually speak to patients over the phone) i was pretty sure if she didn't start me on steroids within the week that i'd be in a wheelchair. that was motivation enough to get me in to see her yesterday. okay, i wasn't that lucky, i had to see the PA, who i've seen before and don't mind. at any rate my only goal was to get steroids because i'm not sure i want to start on a therapy yet if i'm still considering more children soon. she would do the trick. she reviewd my MRI's from 2005 and again casually mentioned the syrinx. i decided i wanted to know more and she again just explained it as some thing that lots of people walk around with and never know they have until they have an MRI for something unrelated. she led me to believe it could have no affect on my health, but that they could remove it through spinal surgery and 'why risk that?'. i left the office with orders for the three-day steroid iv therapy and three MRIs. that's going to be a fun 175 minutes lying flat as a board half-naked!

i started the iv therapy yesterday and am not feeling the results yet. i swear i usually feel them right away. i am experiencing the lovely side effect of insomnia and a slightly icky tummy and headache, though. while feeling antsylast night, i decided to google "syrinx," which immediately revealed some shocking information. a syrinx can lead to a condition called syringomyelia (SM). symptoms include things like: oh, everything i'm experiencing right now! granted, a lot of the symptoms are also those of MS, and my LP did positively prove i do have MS. i'm not arguing that fact. but i'm blown away that three doctors (at least) have now seen my MRI which indicates i have a syrinx that spans five vertebrae (that's big) and have not seen cause for alarm or further investigation. i also found connections to scoliosis, which i happen to have a mild case of. syringomeylia is usually found in patients with scoliosis curving to the left (which mine does). i'm just wondering how all these doctors are blowing this off. and i'm really steaming.

so...what now? i'm finishing the steroids in two days and am scheduled to have the three MRIs. i don't know what i'm hoping to see there-well, i do know, but i'm not going to kid myself that the news will be good. i'm obviously progressing. but the good news is that there is a chance that a lot of these more severe symptoms i'm having are stemming from the SM and not the MS. and SM can be fixed to a degree (with an obviously risky spinal surgery). problem is that i have to convince my doctors of the condition that they are just sweeping under the rug as a normality. wish me luck.

also-i know some of you/some of your friends have neurologists you like/love and i'm definitely on the market (preferably ones in the salt lake area), so can you all do a little connecting with your MS pals and get me some referrals?



i had a shoot last night and have just started editing-these kids are killing me. can you say beautiful, photogenic, and perfectly coordinated? look at those faces-i take very little credit for this-the kids are complete naturals. jamie-i'm pretty sure the gap casting call is going on-get them entered!

more to come (but probably over here).

p.s. they are up! click the linky.


tales from the ghetto part five-million-and-i'm-sick-of-it

thursday our recycling bin was tagged. if it had been the trash can, i might be able to see a way to understand, but a recycling bin? really?

tonight i had another family shoot and whilst snapping away, some punk kids on bikes snatched up my camera bag and took off. inside said bag? a lense cap, my keys, the family's keys (the only ones for their car), my phone, my glasses (in case my allergies forced me to remove my contacts), and an SD card full of images which i can only hope have already been loaded to my computer. we found a man on a bike with the bag. he said he got it along the river and it was already empty. using that clue, rob (dad of the family and sleuth of the year) somehow managed to track down all the contents of the bag which had been strewn along the river path and the punk kids' escape route. without his contacts in, mind you. all except my phone and my keys and SD card. stevie had to get a neighbor to watch the kids in order to bring me an extra set of keys (i had the car seats in my car so he had to leave the kids home and i wasn't about to leave my car for fear the punk kids would return to take it). it was quite the ordeal. and i don't have a phone...

note to other photographers: just because it's called the "peace gardens" doesn't mean it's not full of crooks and vandals.

UPDATE: just posted the photos from the session-cut-short here.


flashback friday

along with some other childhood memorabilia my mom sent out a while ago, was my old monchhichi doll. today i glued her hair back on for the umpteenth time (hair loss among the monchhichi population is a common occurrence. they are lucky enough, though, to be able to reapply their hair with the ease of a hot-glue gun-no minoxidil and transplants involved). after a little internet searching, i was pleasantly surprised to find out that the monchhichi species is still being produced and sold! nash and haven just might find their own under the christmas tree in a few months.

am i the only one who remembers these dolls? and could the monchhichi jingle be any more nostalgic and cheerful (+ cheesy)?

"i love you, monchhichi!"



i've said it before, but there is nothing better than home-grown grapes (which nash refers to as 'strawberries' and which are nothing like those 'things' you buy in the grocery store) and evening sunshine. i'm going to miss these vines and this little crooked house (although i'm quite anxious to get out of the ghetto)...if...oh, the waiting...

haven could not be captured as she was frantically shoving fistfuls of grapes down her throat, burrowing into the vines in search of the next bunch, and creating her usual sticky mess ev.ery.where. oh how i love my icky sticky dirty squawky girl.

we also harvested a ton of garlic this year and prepped the garden plot for next year (provided there is a next year). i can't wait to grow my own grape tomatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn...my mouth waters...



in honor of ten years living in the beehive state, i've finally transferred my driver's license. you'd think i'd have done this ages ago: when i moved here, when i got married and changed my name, when i birthed two kids here, when my PA license expired six months ago, but no...i dragged my feet. i've now lived in utah for 12 of my 28 years, my husband is a utahn, so are my kids, and i'm in a bunco group (which in and of itself qualifies me, but it also helps that all the girls are utahns too). it's time to face the facts: i am a utahn. just another little bee buzzing around the beehive.

p.s. looks like i'll be lucky if i don't have to do this all again in a year (there's a really good chance we'll be moving out of state post law school).


the taylor fam

stevie and stevie have been buds since they were two years old (stevie taylor was apparently potty trained when they met, while my stevie was still wearing diapers. so that's where nash gets it...he's been ruining a lot of underwear, but that's another story). stacy does amazing things with hair and is beautiful, beautiful. sam is the most well-mannered and particular kid you'll ever meet (he wouldn't sit on the ground for any of these photos :). and sophie is a little firecracker with a serious head of hair (she's five days younger than havey). a special thanks to my stevie for providing comedic relief-all these smiles are a result of his ability to really put on a show!

and maybe a few more... {i'm working on getting my photo blog going so that those of you who would rather hear stories about stevie peeing on our carpet don't have to sift through my photography posts. just hold your horses!}

aren't they a good-lookin' bunch? thanks taylors!



my friend, cara, posts funny things her boy max says on her blog and calls them maxisms. nash doesn't hold a candle to max-he's quite possibly the funniest kid that ever lived, but tonight's maxism reminded me to post a funny little nash moment, and what better to call it than a nashism?

emmy, nash, and i were out in the boonies checking out a location for some photos. it involved hopping a fence and a little walk. nash was a little apprehensive about it all, so i explained to him in an excited voice that he needn't worry, we were just doing a little exploring. his response? "i don't want to see dora."

if the humor is lost on you, i envy you. you must not have a 'dora the explorer'-watching toddler in your house.


norah {teaser}

isn't she beautiful? my friend's baby girl at exactly one month. she was perfection. michelle-if she turns up missing you know where to look.

more to come...

p.s. let me know if you can't see the image? i'm messing with some things over here...

p.p.s. i've had quite a few responses to my cheap session offer, but i'm still taking a few more (especially if you live in or are willing to drive to salt lake). email me if you're interested: lizzythebotanist at gmail dot com.


the daytime adventures of L & L

hooray hooray for real, live, unemployed friends! Roo+L & E moved to the big city a few weeks ago and it's been so nice to have someone to hang out with. someone else who has an almost-3-year-old and who has a very tight budget, nonetheless. we've been enjoying our time with them lately, including but not limited to:

  • play dates where the boys are so loud and unruly that L and i can't get a word in,
  • leading to many, many unfinished conversations;
  • lunches that result in big, big messes and maybe some time-outs,
  • toddlers (mostly nash) who think hitting is a good way to show affection,
  • broken stuff, crashed heads, hurt feelings,
  • (way too) many hours of kid's TV-time just for a chance to breathe,
  • trips to the toy store that end in nothing but tears (again, mostly nash) as we pry toys from hands,
  • nash's first toddler-to-toddler hug that didn't end in a screaming fit
wow, sounds like a blast, right? let's just say the kids take some good naps after playing together. and no matter how much fighting, nash still wakes up every morning asking for ethan to come over. welcome to the hood, s family!