Wow. It’s been a long time since we have posted. Thankfully that is because life is beginning to feel normal, well a new normal. We are busy living life rather than worried at what life is going to throw at us. Post transplant life has been interesting for us. 1. We have had to come to terms with the differences in this life, physically. We have labs, doctor visits, and lots of med changes. But also 2. We have had to find our new roles in the world. I want to explain a bit about these changes we’ve been going through.
Becks is doing awesome. His kidneys are bouncing back, his liver is HAPPY, and overall he is developing perfectly. But it has been a challenge. We have been doing weekly labs for 9 months. The poor kid is a pin cushion. He has handled it so well until he learned the word no. Now when he sees the needle, he says no and cries. It’s pretty heartbreaking. As you can imagine, it’s been interesting to fit labs into our weekly schedule. Some days Shawn just takes him, other times I do, but my favorite times are when we go as a whole family. We know all the lab techs and enjoy seeing them weekly. They all love Becks. We just got word that we can move his labs to monthly and it was such great news!!
Along with our weekly labs, we’ve been going to our liver doctor monthly. It was weekly, then every other week and now we’re finally to monthly. It was hard to drive up to Salt Lake so often but now that it’s monthly, it’s so much easier. It’s fun to see the faces of the nurses and doctors, who worked so closely with us, as they see how much B is growing and changing. It makes me so happy to see just how well he is doing.
Our biggest struggle has been getting all of his labs perfect. It seems like we get one under control and something else goes crazy. Initially it was his potassium and magnesium. Those have both resolved. We have constantly been trying to get his tacro (immunosuppression) in the right spot. We think we’ve figured that out. His main struggles now are high blood pressure, his CO2 level and anemia. He is on a lot of iron and it smells and tastes horrendous. His medication for his CO2 is basically baking soda. We mix it all in his chocolate milk and thankfully he takes it although just looking and smelling it, is enough to make me gag. Hopefully as we get closer to his one year mark, we can come off of more of these medications.
Right after transplant, we had feeding therapy to help him eat and get that stinking tube out. He did so well!! He also was doing so great on his own with sitting up, crawling, etc that I declined physical therapy. He didn’t need it! Now that he’s 19 months old we are noticing that he is behind with his speaking. He can communicate great with us and understands everything we are saying but he won’t babble, mimic or talk much. His main words are mama, no, yuck and uh oh. He has said other words but he says them for a day or two and then won’t say them anymore. He used to say dada, cheese, please, ada (addie) and nigh nigh. He just won’t say them anymore. So we made the choice to have speech therapy come in to help him stay on track. We are excited to see the progress he makes over the next few months. I’m hoping he does as well with speech as he did with his feeding therapy.
Even with all of these things going on, life has been pretty perfect. We are finding joy in simple things and really just loving being together as a family. We had a few scares earlier this year with a virus that wiped us all out for a month. It was bad for us all, not just Beckett, although he was the only one hospitalized for it. Twice. That has resolved and we know that it is just our life now. We know that when B gets sick, it is a greater chance that we will end up in the hospital.
As I mentioned earlier, our two main challenges have been getting used to the physical changes like I’ve already described and then the emotional challeges. The harder one for Shawn and I is finding our place. When Beckett was diagnosed, we became ‘that family’. We were put on display and were under a microscope, our lives out there for all the world to see. This helped us in many regards because people knew what we were going through and jumped in to help. But it also is a lonely and stressful place to be. We became Beckett’s parents. The mom and dad of a little boy needing a liver transplant. It defined us. It molded us and changed us. Now that B is doing so great, we aren’t on display as much. A lot of people in our neighborhood have moved and so less people know to what extent we were dealing with everything last year. And when the dust settled after transplant, Shawn and I both felt lost. Who are we? What is our purpose? We were an ordinary family again. I felt very lost. I was completely changed and couldn’t find where I fit with family, friends and neighbors. I felt like I couldn’t relate to people anymore. Conversations would happen and I felt like I couldn’t contribute because bringing up Becks would be a downer on the conversation. It was so odd. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. Relationships are altered, changed. We still don’t feel like we fit perfectly, but we are finding our way, finding our place again. We also don’t quite know what our purpose is yet, but we are focusing on us and I’m sure that will come. We want to make a difference, we want to help, we want to share. And one day, I hope to be able to look back and see that we did just that and that there was a place for us in this crazy thing we call life.