My superhero

Even though last night was a tough one (she may have had a seizure and it made her very upset), today Lily was excited about going to school as it’s ‘superhero’ day.

This kid is MY superhero.  Every day.  She smiles in the face of adversity.  She has fierce determination.  She is silly.  She is smart.  She never gives up.  And she rocks a jumpsuit.

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Superheroes live in the hearts of little kids fighting big battles.  #reverserett

Summer, on a spring day

What a day we had today! It started at Central Park where we were meeting my grad school friends to celebrate our 15 year SAIS Bologna anniversary (for those of us who live in NYC and who couldn’t make it to Bologna).  It was a hot and muggy morning. But Lily and I had a great time catching up with old friends and

We spent four hours in the park – eating, dancing, singing, crashing other people’s parties and listening to live jazz. On the way home I took Lily for a late lunch to Playa Betty’s (her favorite restaurant on the UWS) and then we walked over to Riverside park. You see, we were on a quest to feed the birds. This is something she requested to do earlier in the week. Alas, no birds were to be found. But we will try again tomorrow.  I hear we may have another day of summer weather.

Picture day!

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Tmorrow is picture day at school. You’ll see from the note she wrote (transcribed by her speech therapist and left on the refrigerator for me) that it’s a toss up between her silver sparkly dress and a pair of overalls. As of tonight, she’s leaning towards the overalls.

i love this silly toothless kid!

 

Stronger

The past few months have been extremely stressful so writing posts has not been a top priority.  However, I didn’t want to leave you hanging for too long.  I’m proud to say that Lily has been showing improvement in many areas.  Her appetite has come back (for the most part), her peeing has normalized (for the most part) and her gross motor function/walking has also returned (for the most part).  Her breathing is still an issue though that too seems to have gotten better.

I have been obsessed – OBSESSED – with her caloric intake.  And I’m pleased to say that a steady diet of pizza, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, rice pudding and vanilla yogurt coupled with her morning smoothies (which has a pediasure base and some raw veggies that I slip in) has helped her fill out and get stronger.  She still has more weight to gain but many days I’m finding myself not completely stressed and uptight about her eating.  It’s helped that most days she’s opening her mouth for food and is genuinely interested in eating again, though her former diet of uber-healthy food has screeched to a halt.  Whatever.  The kid is eating.

But I can’t completely relax.  We still have days that are difficult for her.  Really difficult.  Heart-breakingly difficult.  And I’m trying to shake the hangover of what she went through these past few months but I can’t completely.  Rett Sydrome is always lurking around and we just never know when it will pounce.  I can’t make this the focus of my attention as it will destroy me.

So I remain in hope.  And there’s good reason.  Last month two significant announcements were made about Rett research.  One was regarding a research trial on a drug that ameliorates a handful of painful symptoms in our girls.  And the other was regarding the path toward a cure using gene therapy.  Awareness-raising and fundraising are now more important than ever.

Until the cure comes, us warriors will continue to battle against the day to day struggles of Rett Syndrome, and we’re going to do our best to have as much fun along the way.

Love,

C and L

 

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017 in South Florida with Grandma and her cousins!

D-Day

Tomorrow it will be three years since we got the Rett Syndrome diagnosis.  Sometimes it feels like time has stood still since that moment.  Sometimes it feels like time is racing by.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on top of it.  Sometimes I feel completely defeated.

These past two months have really put us to the test.  And I’ve been more afraid now than I was when I first heard the words ‘your daughter has Rett syndrome.’  I don’t think it’s because I was naive to what the future could hold. I’ve been cautiously optimistic that my kid would beat the odds and be healthy.  And we’ve taken every measure to try and make this a reality.

However, her health has taken a nose-dive as of late, as many of you know.  And I’m still looking for answers to what’s been going on.  But have come up with nothing new.

Physically I’ve noticed that she has been getting stronger.  Afternoons and evenings are better for her.  She can walk around most evenings completely independently and somewhat safely.  But mornings… they take my breath away.  And not in a good way.  Most mornings she is struggling to stand.  Some mornings, she can’t even get herself up to sit.  But when she is struggling, she has a smile, and a determined look on her face.  It’s almost like she’s saying ‘I’m going to have fun while fighting this.’  I try to take her lead on these things.  I really do.  But it’s fucking heartbreaking.

Just as she’s been seemingly getting physically stronger, a new symptom has reared its ugly head out which is putting a wrench on her recovery.  Breathing.  Or lack thereof.  The past two nights in a row, it’s taken her 5 hours to fall asleep.  Breath holding and hyperventilating for hours at a time.  She’ll fall asleep, but forget to breathe while doing so.  Which means that a few moments later she wakes up gasping for air.  It’s been this terrifying cycle to watch.  And there is nothing I can do but hold her hand and tell her I love her and that I’m proud of her and that we will figure this out.

In a few weeks she is going to have a birthday.  Six years old.  In many ways she is a typical 6 year old – she loves to play dress up and read stories and giggle.  But in so many ways she is not.  There are way too many hospital visits.  Way too many health issues.

The scientific community is inching closer and closer to a cure.  Some say it is a matter of 3-5 years.  This is not soon enough.  But one day, Lily will be rid of this Rett monster.  This is a fact.

For those who were considering sending her a birthday gift, the greatest gift you could give would be making a donation to the Rett Syndrome Research Trust.  In honor of Lily’s birthday and diagnosis day, I’ve created a fundraising page specifically for her.  I have an audacious goal of raising $100,000 by year end.  Help me get there.  Help me spread the word.

A cure is in sight.  And it can’t come soon enough.

Here is the direct link: https://rettgive.org/projects/a-cure-for-lily/

 

 

Struggling

I am not going to sugarcoat what’s been going on. Lily is having an extremely difficult time doing things she used to do effortlessly like sitting up on her elbows, standing, walking, breathing.

I’ve been busy trying to procure additional help at home – whether it’s friends or family stopping by in the evenings or hiring a morning aide to come and help us get out the door. We just got approved through Medicaid for a home health aid to be with us 24/7 but there are still numerous steps to actually get that support into place. It still may be a matter of months until this service kicks in.

We are navigating through a new, terrifying TEMPORARY time. Through it all, this kid amazes me with her determination, grace and beauty. She is my hero.

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Home

We are so relieved to be home. And so grateful for the help we’ve gotten to get back here and get settled back in.

Yesterday Lily’s dad met us at the hospital and sherpa-ed us through the snow storm to our apartment.  I do not travel lightly with these hospital visits. Pillows, blankets, blenders, food – you name it, I bring it. We had a lot of luggage.

Once home, John started working on Lily’s hair while I started unpacking/doing laundry. He left shortly thereafter. I put Lily in the bath. Washed her hair three times, scrubbed her down, got her all clean.

Then I jumped on a conference call with other Rett mommas to talk about fundraising strategies.  It was a great way to wile away an hour of combing out Lily’s knots. But alas, her hair defeated me. EEGs and long hair do not go well together. I got through about half of the tangled mess.

At 5:30pm the doorbell rang with hot food from a wonderful Italian restaurant, courtesy of Beverly Salerno.  She just did it. Food just showed up.  Like magic. It was an amazing gift.

Stephen (my wonderful boyfriend of many months) came over a little later with wine and groceries. He set up our dinner while I fed Lily.  Then he watched her so I could finally shower off the hospital germs.  I’m quite the germaphobe for those unaware.

After I put Lily to sleep, we ate. It was delicious. I fell asleep on the sofa afterwards and when I woke an hour later, Stephen had done my dishes and finished the laundry. It was like waking from a dream!!

Today Lily and I are recuperating. Lily continues to have her ups and downs. Sometimes she walks well.  Other times she can barely stand. We have quite the road ahead of us. But soon enough we will be climbing those hills again.

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Playing dress-up yestersay while waiting to get discharged

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Visiting with Urzsula and Shamekia earlier today