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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dreaded X-Ray day

If there was one thing I could ask for Cerebral Palsy not to effect it would be the hips and spine. Okay, maybe there would be many many things but these parts of the body have stressed me out for 16 years. I fear and stress over every single X-ray day. His right hip osteotomy was the absolute worst surgery he has ever been through. His spine was actually okay until around age 12. I was actually blindsided when I was told that he had a curve and let me tell you it has added a whole new kind of stress to X-ray day.

People always comment on how strong you are when you parent a child with disabilities. I never understood it. I always laugh it off. I have never felt strong. The people that say that don't see me stress out or cry for a month or melt down into a blubbering mess right in front of the doctors or desperately try and hold back the tears because your son is staring at you and all he is listening for is 'surgery' or 'no surgery'.

Sometimes it does hit me that I have become mentally stronger, much stronger than I was when he was 1 years old and every doctor appointment was a knife to the heart. But is it strength or tolerance? Am I so used to receiving bad news that I am mentally prepared for it? Can I just turn off that part in my brain that wants to melt down at that very second? Is this strength or something else? I literally talk to myself while waiting for the doctor. I tell myself wait to hear what he has to say, maybe there are other options besides surgery. Maybe it isn't that bad even though it looks horrendous. Did you know the nurse leaves you in the room staring at this horrific X-ray of your child? You start to understand X-Rays when you see them every 6 months to a year for your entire child's life. I was immediately caught off guard the moment I walked into the exam room and the X-ray, that never looked like that before, was staring me in the face. I knew it was his and I still asked the nurse "is that him?" I knew it was his because after we left the X-ray room we walked down the hall and of course my observant self caught a glimpse of an X-ray on the screen behind some windows. While I thought to myself "that better not be my kid", I knew it was.

As I wait for the doctor Brendan asks "is it bad?" and I say "it doesn't look good" because I am always honest with my boy, I try to mentally prepare myself. I wanted to cry. I immediately text my husband a picture and commented that it looks really bad. I am ready to lose it but I start to talk myself down because I really hate crying in front of doctors, it is beyond embarrassing. So I tell myself that I don't know if this picture 100% means surgery, maybe there are other options like bracing or having better supports on his wheelchairs, maybe add therapy or stretching. So I calmly wait for the doctor and he talks to me for a long time. I really liked everything he had to say. He knows I am not pro surgery. I am not saying I won't put him through surgery but all of the surgeries I have chosen were to try to better his life. His right hip osteotomy at age 5 did not do that. I have regretted it ever since and I have overly researched everything since. I feel like I didn't know enough back then. I didn't know there were other options. I didn't know anything except that his hip was 100% dislocated and we tried many things to stop that from happening and none of them worked. I was told he had to have surgery and so that is what we did. I trusted a doctor that in turn messed up his leg position for life. I may still hold that one against him 12 years later.

The doctor said we don't do surgery based on an X-ray but rather take everything into consideration. I don't think this was always the case but this doctor is one of the best scoliosis doctors in RI. He jokes around which definitely kept me from crying. He made a point to tell me some doctors in Boston would perform surgery only based on this X-ray (hmmm wonder if that is the same doctor Brendan had), but he has learned not to do that. Brendan has a 50 degree curve (which I obviously looked up later that night and found out that is a severe curve) but it is not causing him pain, breathing issues or any other problems so we will leave it. He said if any of those things change we will revisit this conversation. He explained that if this curve drastically changes in 6 months we will have to fix it. He also said that we never truly know if this is the right decision. He has regretted some decisions before while performing extremely difficult surgeries and wishing they had done them years earlier. He said if I told him I wanted to fix now and be done with it he would. I did not ask for that, in case you were wondering. I did listen to everything he had to say and I will keep all of it in the back of my mind because I do know it can change. He explained that he didn't think Brendan would benefit from having a rigid rod in his back. He thinks it would hinder him and his abilities and that is the last thing that I want to have happen. He said that Brendan uses his body to move around and having a stiff back may look good but it will also make it harder for him to walk and independently do things.

I left feeling okay about everything. I completely understand it all and I wasn't even upset. I often get depressed after his orthopedic appointments. When I was told his left hip was out of place by 40% I went into a sad place for a solid month. I couldn't snap out of it but instead of doing nothing I sent his X-rays off to two other doctors for their opinions. I was 100% against surgery but I wanted other professionals to be on my side. If they said he should have surgery then I would have sucked it up and been there for Brendan every step of the way. But they didn't say that. They actually said 40% out can be normal for a kid with CP. They said at his age his bones are hardening and it may never move again. Now there is always a possibility and that possibility made Brendan's RI doctor nervous. He wanted him to have surgery to fix it now instead of later because it would be more difficult with solid bones. I had to make the decision and live with it. I decided against it.

His doctor told me this week that he was really surprised that his hips were stable. He really thought he should have had surgery but basically we proved him wrong and we are fortunate that his hips haven't moved. He seems to think we are in the clear and didn't recommend surgery. I have seriously been putting this surgery off since Brendan was 8 years old. I still remember another RI doctor, that I didn't much care for, laughing about his left hip and stating that "hip is taking a beating"! I was pregnant and yet again cried instantly when the doctor suggested immediate surgery. I was pregnant with his sister, Makayla, when I was told he had to have his right hip surgery so it was total deja vu. Regrettably I couldn't handle it and just ignored his hip for a good year. I think it was only out 20% and I knew surgery wasn't going to happen while I was pregnant or had a newborn to care for. We had the same conversation a few years later but I still didn't want to hear it. My gut said to not do it and I have trusted my instinct for 9 years and here are we being told we don't have to fix his hip. Do I question if it has caused his curved spine? Yes, but no one has said that to me. I even asked and was told no. Many kids have scoliosis that don't even have CP so apparently he is just unlucky. I am friends with a few moms with teenage boys with CP and they also are going through the same exact thing. They start growing and
they get a curve in their spine.

Right hip surgery 2007. A few weeks after he was smiling and happy:

You may look at Brendan and think that he looks great, he is well off, he may even look like he has mild CP. Yes he can talk, he can use his phone and computer and he enjoys life. He is hardly sick and hasn't ever spent a night in the hospital due to illness but let me tell you he has been through a lot. The spasticity from his CP effects his body. His prematurity definitely effected his body. He has had 13 surgeries, 13.... all due to being born early and his lovey brain damage that still tries to destroy his body.

So mentally I am not sure how I am strong, maybe I just have to be. Some days I don't want to be but I am for him.

So here is to another 6 months without surgery. We are going to try a soft brace when he walks, rides his bike and exercises but he doesn't have to wear it all the time. It is more for support and to make him feel more comfortable doing all of these things. Keep him in your thoughts and lets all hope for a positive X-Ray in 6 months!

Need a new Credit Card?

I have always loved Capital One. It has been my favorite credit card since day one. I recently signed up for a new card to help pay for our Disney vacation because it had so many awesome perks. Click this link to sign up! (or copy and paste into your browser since I have been having trouble getting my links to work)

This card gives you 18 months with 0% interest. This can really help pay off some bills. You can also transfer from other cards and still receive 18 months at 0%. They have you pay a small fee but I have used 0% transfers for many many years and it saves you a ton of money. Interest really adds up and normally the 3% fee is less than one month of interest you will get charged. This card also gives you a $200 bonus after spending so much money in 3 months. Another really great feature. Free money doesn't come very often in our lives. Just use it for gas or groceries and you will easily get a $200 credit which you can apply right to your card. In our house that is a free week of groceries!

There are no cons to this credit card. Going on a vacation, need to repair a vehicle or need to pay off some other credit card debt, then this is the way to go!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Let's talk about some apps to earn you cash back!

As a mom of 5 kids I have done a lot over the years to save money, earn extra money and get the most out of my money. I have always done things on the side in order to earn extra cash. I have always sold items I am not using on craigslist and now on Facebook. I even made birthday cakes on the side when we only had 3 kids. In case you didn't know I actually attended Johnson & Wales University for Baking & Pastry Arts, I even went on to got a degree in business. Many moons ago.

I also partook in extreme couponing before I had my 4th child, after him I lost any and all free time. I even had a stock pile. I would grocery shop at multiple stores and save more than I spent. It was pretty awesome but extremely time consuming. You really had to research and actually purchase coupons ahead of time to get them in time for the stores sales. It was intense but my husband did help with the research part. We watched videos and really got into it. I had a huge binder of coupons I always carried around because sometimes you lucked out and had a random coupon to get something for free.

After I had Andrew there was literally zero time for this. We also started up our business, Tiverton Tots LLC, while I was pregnant which put us on a different life path. I had to put all my time and effort into that all while raising 4 children.

The first app I ever joined was Swagbucks. If you want to check it out join with my referral link: (please copy and paste, I can't get links to work lately)

Basically you earn 'Swagbucks' which you can trade in for gift cards. I always trade for PayPal because I like the extra cash. Years ago I would trade for Dominos or Amazon gift cards. They have a ton of options. I find this app to be the highest in return because 2500 Swagbucks = $25 in PayPal cash. That is easy to attain. You can join the Facebook group and get free codes every day that give you a few Swagbucks. You can play trivia games at night and fill out surveys while watching tv or relaxing. You can also use their links to Shop online and earn a % back on items you are already purchasing. That is the best! It is entertaining and easy once you get the hang of it. I have earned $500 over the years.

I joined some new apps last year and absolutely love them. Everything takes a little time but I have earned $570 cash back on one app alone! Ibotta is currently my favorite because you instantly earn cash back, you don't have to trade points in for gift cards. Once you hit $20 in your account you can transfer to your PayPal account. Use my referral code: Beihsti for IBotta.

Shopkicks is the 3rd app I frequently use. I have earend $150 from Shopkicks since April. I am close to earning another $25 and am actually going out today to scan and just walk-in some stores. You can scan items at the store you are already in and can also get 'kicks' for just walking into the stores. Sometimes you can literally just drive by them and if you have your app open you receive kicks, CVS and Walmart work great for this! This app is really easy and can be fun. You can also earn kicks from in store purchases and on-line shopping. Please use my invite code: SAVE508049. We both can earn a bonus if you use this app right away. Just walk into a CVS, TJ Max or Walmart to name a few.

If you have any apps you want to recommend please let me know! I am always looking for ways to save and earn cash back. This family is expensive but every little bit helps and saving over $1000 a year on items I am already purchasing definitely helps with those bills.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

And then he was 17

I am still not sure how I have been a mother for 17 years. Almost half my life now, although I can't imagine life any other way. It seems surreal that he will be an adult next year. He has had a great year and has really progressed in so many ways. I am very proud of him. He still needs to mature and learn how to handle his emotions but overall he is so far beyond what I ever imagined.

I thought back to his birth this year probably because his birthday actually fell on Thanksgiving this year. I was able to think back and not break down. Okay I may have gotten a bit teary eyed, it is impossible not to. That day changed my life and was just the beginning of his very difficult life. 17 years later I can say that we are doing awesome. He has seriously come a long way.

I decided long ago to take this life day by day. The future scared me. I couldn't handle thinking about months ahead never mind years. I couldn't picture our life, I couldn't imagine what he would be like or how he would act or if he would talk or walk so I kept my sanity by taking it day by day. After all these years I still live by it. I actually hate when I do have to think about the future and unfortunately that time is here.

I have to plan for his future at this point. I have to choose a path for him. I have to think past high school. I have also had to realize that he really isn't capable of holding a job. He has had some great opportunities and he is always out and about trying new jobs with his job coach but in reality he can't handle much. He has only one limb that works well. His brain is still not the typical brain of a 17 year old. He still has very little focus or motivation. I am just thankful he has been given opportunities and he is still living an extremely fabulous life. I do worry it will become boring. I worry that he will be a hermit and live in his bedroom. I do worry that people will stop being awesome and taking him out and going above and beyond. All these worries haunt me. Thankfully he doesn't seem to worry or be concerned for his own future. He lets me take care of all of that!

I try and not focus too much on the scary future because it will take me down the path of depression. I have avoided therapy and medication all these years so in order to keep it that way I stop myself from obsessing about things that I can't control. He has been happy and healthy and that is all that matters. We have avoided major surgeries and we just keep chugging along. I try my best to give him a good life. He has had an amazing year and has hit all the goals we created for him this year. He self transfers for many things and has taken a lot of physical duties off of us. He is now my height and almost my weight so it has become very difficult for me to lift and move him so I am fortunate he can help a lot! I tend to hurt my back instantly if I do need to lift him.

The days fly by and here we are with the countdown to 18. We continue to change the house to meet his needs and will continue to do so in order to help him be as independent as possible. In a way it is exciting to enter a new chapter in his life, I just hope that it goes as well as the first 17 years. He is one lucky kid surrounded by so many people that love him and treat him with respect. I am honored to call our town home and really appreciate our community that goes above and beyond to make this kid happy.

3 officers showed up to a birthday party at his school. The nurse held a little celebration for him at lunch time and his teacher sent me a picture. He mentioned that he was eating lunch with the nurse for his birthday but I had no idea they would have a little party and that 3 officers would celebrate with him. It is all about the little things and these little things make a huge impact on this kid!

Happy Birthday kid!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Time flies when you have 5 kids

Seriously the days are just whizzing by me. Where has the time gone? I swear Brendan just turned 16 and yet it is already his Birthday month. Chloe just finished working her very first job. She is only 15 and was hired at a Farm for the Fall Season. Every weekend she got to help all the lost people in the corn maze every. Makayla has offically surpassed me in height and she only turned 12 recently. Andrew is a busy boy and becoming very self sufficient. Our sweet Lily, known as the princess around here is going to be 5 soon. She started preschool this year and she has changed so much in the last few months.

Every year the eldest child has a birthday, as they all do, and we are all shocked at his upcoming age. Even his siblings can't get over him aging rapidly. We all couldn't believe when he became a teenager and then he hit 14 and 15 and 16 and now he is turning 17!!! It sounds so old and grown up. His sisters are baffled with how fast life flies by and recently exclaimed "next year he will be an adult". It is fascinating watching them all grow up before our very eyes. Facebook memories get you every time! You just can't believe how much they change in just a few years. Seriously once they hit 12 they start to become little adults. Memories pop up from 4 or 6 years ago when they are only 6 or 8 or so and now some are fully grown adults and no matter how many time Facebook shows you (like every single day) you are just shocked at their transformation.

We are sort of lucky because we still have the 4 year old to gush over. On the other hand we are really sick of giving showers, cutting nails, brushing hair and getting kids ready for bed but we realize all of the sudden they do everything themselves. I will miss all of that bonding time. We hardly ever even see the 15 year old. She does comes up for food or to ask for money. Our 7 year old showers and dresses himself so he is already on the path to independence. He even requests showers and actually remembers to bathe every other day. He is better than the older ones, well except for Brendan. That child lives life on a schedule so he has no issues reminding us when it is shower day. Most teenage boys stink and don't care about being clean but not Brendan. He is the complete opposite. Over the years I realized how alike our boys are. I always tell my husband, I never knew how typical Brendan really was until we had Andrew. Brendan has always been a total boy and most of those annoying quirks he had growing up apparently was just a boy thing. Playing with light switches, opening and shutting doors for literally no reason, making annoying sounds, having zero attention span....yup he was just being a boy. Who knew?!

Lily has been a busy little bee lately. Preschool has changed her. She loves to color and draw and cut paper.... Lots of paper like if I have to sweep up any more pieces of paper that are all over my dining room I may cry. She attends school from 9-3pm and continues to be non stop the minute she walks through the door. She is always off crafting something. We know exactly what to get her for Christmas and it will go into her bedroom so she isn't destroying the dining room an hour before dinner needs to be on the table. She is still very shy but preschool is helping her come out of her shell. She has made some friends and gained some confidence. She rides down slides all on her own now and had a blast at her brother's school Halloween party. Also, for the first time in 16 long years I did not have to walk to a single door on Halloween. She seriously ran up to the houses all by herself. She even tried to avoid going to the same house as her brother, Ms. independent. I can not even believe that I got to sit back and watch and yes I got to sit because we took Brendan with us in his golf cart. It was seriously the best Halloween ever. I just waved to our neighbors and happily sat and watched my 4 and 7 year old run all around collecting candy. We have earned this! 16 years of trick or treating. Many many years lugging Brendan up to the doors, in and out of wagons, strollers and wheelchairs. The last two years he took his bike which was also awesome but nothing can beat us all sitting in the golf cart and enjoying ourselves.

The days are still busy but not as exhausting as they once were. 4 kids are off to school by 8:15 am and then Lily heads in at 9 am. We actually get to go to work without any children! We don't have to keep them entertained, we don't have to feed them, we don't have to clean up after them all day long. It is peaceful and we get so much work done. It is very odd but in a good way. We have owned our business for over 7 years and have children with us since the day we opened. At least I know Lily is off having a great day and we get a break from all 5 kids for a few hours. I leave work at 2:40 pm and pick up Lily and then grab Andrew and head home to clean up and start dinner. We put 3 kids to bed at 8:30 pm and then try and relax until bed time. We don't have too much going on right now as far as sports. Chloe has cheer but walks home at the moment because practice is after school which is nice. Brendan hasn't started basketball yet but I can just swing by to get him after I grab Lily when that starts up. Makayla joined drama and is helping with an elementary art class once a week so we have a few pick ups but nothing crazy and the best part is we live right down the road from the schools so it takes no time at all. It is so much easier now that the little kids are older because I don't even have to pack them up, they can stay home with any sibling for 5 minutes. No sleeping babies to worry about, no coats or shoes to run around the house to find because they decided to take them off in the upstairs bathroom. Nope, I just say I will be right back and head out the door. These are the little things that a mom with many kids can appreciate. Running to the store and leaving them all behind is amazing. Getting to go on a date with my husband because our 15 year old can take care of them is the best, mostly because we don't even have to pay for a babysitter.

So somehow another year has passed us by. Brendan turns 17 on Thanksgiving. My mom and her husband are off to Arizona already for the Winter. The leaves are falling fast and cold weather is approaching. 2020 will be here before we know it and next year at this time one of our children will be almost an adult. I am trying to enjoy all the moments, whether chaotic or not because I know one day they will all be adults and all of these hectic days will be in the past and I will have a quiet house and miss the absolute chaos that I have come to secretly love.

Throwback of Brendan since it is his birthday month and then the 3 oldest:

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Life is too hectic....I forgot to post about Summer Camp

Wow I just realized that I forgot to post about a huge milestone this past Summer. Brendan went to Summer camp. Not just day camp. He went off and spent 12 nights at a camp multiple states away from us. We found a camp in NJ. We were both nervous but my husband was very excited for the much needed break.

We went on a road trip back in April during April vacation and we were able to tour the camp on the way home. We had kept it a secret the whole trip because once Brendan knows something he won't stop asking questions. I could not be stuck in an RV for 7 days answering questions that I didn't know, about a summer camp I had never seen. So we told him 30 minutes before we arrived and he was absolutely shocked. He took the news well and was excited to see the camp. He even asked some really appropriate questions. The most important question he asked was if he could bring his cell phone! The answer was no, no cell phones are allowed. No computers, no phones, no communication accept for me emailing or calling to ask about him. I couldn't even speak to him. That was a little intimidating, even for me.

I really thought he would not want to go but instead he was very excited. He would attend in August so we had a few months to prepare especially mentally. It was the first time Brendan would ever be away from me for that long. I realized that Brendan has never ever slept away from me or his father for more than one night and now he was going to sleep at a camp without knowing anyone for 12 nights. This is a huge! I think the longest he has been away from me was when he went to Disney with his father which I believe was 7 nights at most. 12 nights felt like an eternity.

His younger sister and I drove to NJ to bring him and we made a weekend trip out of it. He was fine until the day it was time to be dropped off. He was beyond nervous. Drop off wasn't until later afternoon so his anxiety spiked. We took him out to lunch and to the mall to get his mind off of it but that didn't help at all. He was consumed by his nerves. He didn't even eat his french fries at lunch but he did manage to get his steak down! He even broke down crying at lunch. I didn't know what to do or say. Makayla and I felt so bad for him. We took him to pick out new shoes for school and then left to go get ready for drop off.

I told him girls would be at the camp and he smiled about that!

Super nervous leaving the hotel!

Once we arrived he was amazing! He didn't cry at all. Drop off was very different than I had expected. 3 people approached the van and took out all of his luggage and helped get his power travel chair out. It was top notch treatment. They had an outdoor area where we checked in and they told him what cabin to go to. It was all so fast. They would have whisked him away right then and there...5 minutes after we arrived. I asked if I go to the cabin with him and they said I could so I asked Brendan if that is what he wanted. He agreed so off we went. He started talking to one of the counselors that was unpacking on a bed across the room and he warmed right up. He never cried. He said he was ready. So I just left him there in his wheelchair with all his luggage. It was so odd. I had to leave my child they knew nothing about besides some detailed forms I had filled out. I have never done anything like this but I think I was having a harder time than him. He made it so much easier being so brave. I was shocked because after his morning anxiety I thought he was going to have a major meltdown. Nope, he was awesome! As always.

Makayla and I felt so weird just leaving him like that but off we went to enjoy some time together. Of course a major storm rolled in the next day and the camp seriously lost power for days. Not only power but their phone lines. I tried all day getting in touch to see how he was doing and couldn't get through. On our 6 hour drive home I realized I could email them so we emailed back and forth for check ins. He was homesick the first few days but only during meal times, probably because we always eat together for breakfast and dinner. I was told after a few days he was loving it and embracing camp life. I wasn't able to talk to him at all. I waited for a post card but never received one. I couldn't wait to hear how it was.

We figured Brendan would say he hated it and was never going back because that is what he does even if he actually enjoyed something. We were prepared for him to say this over the next few months but instead he actually acted like he liked it. He did say the beds were uncomfortable the food was bad which sounds 100% like camp to me! I told him we would get him an egg crate for the bed next year (this was my test question to see how he would react) and he said okay. WHAT?! He didn't say No, I am not going back but instead agreed. So he is going again next year and he will probably not be as homesick. I am so happy he enjoyed it. 12 nights and no electronics is so good for him. I am going to try and get his friend Jack to go with him next year.

They didn't send any pictures or any information on how it went and I didn't get much out of Brendan but the bottom line is he enjoyed himself. He survived 12 days away from us. I should have less anxiety next year and hopefully a storm doesn't take out their power and phone lines on day 1! So amazing that camps exist for disabled children like this. It was an experience I never thought either of us would have yet we did.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Brendan is growing up way too fast.

Brendan turns 17 next month. I am not entirely sure how this is even possible. 17 scares me. 17 means he is almost an adult. Most of you are probably excited as your children reach adulthood but I am terrified. Everything changes. He exits high school. I have to become his guardian because he is clearly not capable of making serious decisions on his own. He begins day programs and I have to really hope we find something that works for him and that he enjoys. These things have been running through my mind constantly and I am stressing out. I think once we start the process on all of these things I will feel better. I am just waiting for it and that gives me anxiety. So many unknowns.

Although half the time I am stressed out the other half I am beyond thankful. Brendan has come so far in life. He seriously handles this life better than I could ever have handled it. He has had 13 surgeries! I have only ever had my wisdom teeth out. I can't imagine being cut open. Yet he goes in so strong and comes out even stronger. He is stuck in a wheelchair yet he is happy. He is becoming more and more independent. He is constantly maturing. Throughout his life my husband and I often have conversations revolving around Brendan. By often I mean daily! Years ago we wondered if we would ever be able to carry on a real conversation with him and now we do! Years ago we wondered if he would ever mature and not act like an immature kid and he does! Not always but he often blows me away with what he says and asks. I never ever thought he would be able to use the bathroom on his own and yet he does. I never thought he would be able to get his covers off and sit up and wait for us to come dress him in the morning but he does every single day. I never ever thought he could get off his bus and enter the house 100% independently and he currently is. He is simply amazing!

I feel like we, well lets be serious.... me, have made great decisions over the years. I have had to make many difficult decisions. I have had to say yes to way too many surgeries. But overall I truly feel that they have all been the right decision. I honestly do not think he would be where he is today without going through the many difficult times. When I look back I am flabbergasted on how amazing he is going under the knife. He has been casted and braced and stuck in bed for days and whenever we think back we are like, WOW, he handled that amazingly well. I keep telling myself this because I am trying to prepare myself for spinal surgery. His scoliosis doesn't look good. His back is deforming more and more as he grows. I hate this. I hate that I couldn't prevent it. I hate that I blame myself for it. I hate that this could very well be surgery #14. I cry instantly thinking about it. My husband normally showers and dresses him and didn't want to bring it up to me the other morning but he did. I instantly started bawling my eyes out because I already knew. I gave him a shower days before. I notice everything. I know it is getting worse and I am avoiding it but that won't do anyone any good. It is time for x rays and it is time to hear the news I never ever wanted to hear. In all honesty this surgery scares the sh*t out of me. I have started to read stories about it because I know it is coming. I am trying to prepare myself.

This CP life is not easy. Not only for him but for everyone that loves him. I never knew I would live this life full of heartache and stress. Almost 17 years in, now that is crazy! I am hear for the long haul. I will do what is best for him, at least I try. I often wonder if I should have corrected his left hip and if not doing so caused his scoliosis?! I want to think I made the best decisions but then I question myself.

So hear is to 17! Maybe I am wrong and he doesn't need surgery. Honestly I am not usually wrong, my mom radar is on par.

Now to leave this post on a good note. Brendan decided to attend the Homecoming dance this year. He hasn't wanted to go to dances in years now and randomly he told me he wanted to go (days before the dance of course) and he looked awesome! His pants look so much better in person. My husband wheeled him over to me in Burlington Coat Factory wearing them and I was like OMG I love them! Girls danced with him and Senior boys took him out on the dance floor. I really think he will attend his Prom and I was just convincing myself that it is okay if he doesn't experience it if he doesn't want to. I am one happy mama.