Happy New Year, friends! January always feels like a fresh start to me and is a time I typically spend reflecting on what the past year has brought and considering what I hope for in the new year. Today I am sharing my reflections from 2017 and my goals/aspirations/priorities for 2018.
Two thousand seventeen started out with a fear filled few months, afraid we would lose our son Atreyu due to his acute change in his health with a previously diagnosed kidney issue that had suddenly turned for the worse. In February we ended up flying out to Boston on an emergency basis to have his surgery done. When we arrived the children nephrologist informed us just how serious it was. See we went in for a routine blood pressure check for Atreyu to monitor, and it was rapidly increasing. Our pediatrician put Atreyu on a fixed wing emergency flight to Boston Children's Hospital where the team was waiting for him. Our son left Las Vegas at 7:50pm, as soon as the aircraft and team were all in place with all necessary equipment. Due to the extra equipment and team members on the fixed wing aircraft, Tony and I had to fly out separately. Our son arrived hours before we did, as the soonest flight we could get out was at almost midnight that night. When we arrived at the hospital, Atreyu was being held by an amazing nurse in a spider-man costume being held and rocked. They monitored him closely all night as the team prepared for his surgery, and at 5am the morning he went into a surgery we were unsure if he would make it out of. Atreyu was in the prayers of all our family and many of our friends. Many hours later the doctor came out and informed us that the kidneys were different than what he expected. Atreyu was diagnosed with a severe renal artery stenosis that was caused by scaring forming on his arteries from a congenital effect. They cut a portion of his arteries out, and reattached them. They injected stem cells from our daughter into his kidney that was smaller in hopes to speed growth. Once the doctor walked out of the surgery to update us, he informed us that had we waited another 36 hours, our son would have probably gone to sleep and passed away in his sleep due to an increase in his blood pressure that would have made his brain have hemorrhages. My not even 1 year old son at the time would have died in his sleep and we would have seen no signs leading up to it had we not gone in for regular BP checks due to his known kidney issues. That was just one of the many roller coaster items of 2017. While we were in Boston, Tonys mother was in Burbank in the hospital due to a second stroke she had suffered. So while we are worried about our son, literally being in surgery, we are also worried about his grandmother as she was not doing well at this time. We flew from Las Vegas to Boston, from Boston to LAX, and then drove a rental from LA to Las Vegas. When we touched down in LA we headed to Los Angeles Childrens to have a blood pressure check, a UA and a blood test run on our son. From LA Childrens to Burbank to see Tonys mother, all while having to monitor Atreyu, and not telling Tonys mother about his surgery as we didn't want to worry her or cause any frustrations as it was hard to explain and understand what all Atreyu had gone through.
In July at Atreuy 1 year wellness check we got word the surgery worked well, and we would do annual rechecks until he was an adult. If no issues arise he can go on to only being checked by a nephrologist if something is wrong with him.
We've lost friends, gained friends. Lost family members, and still haven't grieved over those losses. We gained weight, thought at one point we weren't going to make it as a couple. I have had my own recent diagnosis due to a severe depression that made me want to die. Literally my 4 year old daughter told her nana that mommy isn't right and she was scared. That was the straw that made me go seek help. After getting my mental well being under control from my past abusive relationship, I was diagnosed with severe PTSD, Depression and severe Anxiety. I went under medication treatment as well as therapy, and the medication treatment has changed many times as it isn't an instant cure but adjustments to a normal state. I went to a neurologist and cardiologist who have stated that my previous SVT (Supra-ventricular tachycardia was actually a misdiagnosis and what I actually have is SCA (Spinal Cellular Ataxia) with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). All of these are now being monitored and controlled.
We got a service puppy, who is being trained to alert to my syncope episodes. She is a Belgian malinos, and doing well at her training.
All in all 2017 was a roller coaster of a year, but we grew closer, our son is growing normally and learning well. Our daughter is being a normal 4 year old full of attitude and independence. We love and cherish one another more than we ever thought possible, and most importantly we are going after our dreams and passions without fears.
What we are hoping for in 2018 is consistency, consistency in our tattoo business Ironhorse Tattoos in Las Vegas. Consistency in our eating healthy, and doing family fun things together. Consistency in our love, and personal time. Consistency in our growth as a family, as a couple and as individuals. Growth as artists in all mediums. Our hope for 2018 is that every single day we are a better us than we were the day before. So cheers to a great 2018, with support and love for every hurdle we must overcome.
The Bee Hive - Allie Otto