{Colorado} 2019 Visit

Life happens... it's been a busy, chaotic year. And... I never posted our 2019 Colorado Trip photos. So, I'll work on that but for now, here's some of the highlights...

We went out for my cousin's wedding (sibling to the one from last year) and enjoyed every minute! We wen to Pike's Peak, road the Royal Gorge Railroad, went sight seeing over the Royal Gorge, entertained the kids at the Dinosaur Experience in Canon City, and had a lot of fun, family time with the wedding. The weather was beautiful and it was another great vacation! 

{Perthes Disease} FAQ's

My post about Nate's Perthes was long and drawn out, so I thought I'd share some general information about Perthes Disease here and as we find out. We are always learning more with each doctor's visit to Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis.

So what is Perthes?

Perthes is when the blood flow stops going to the top of the hip and causes the bone to die. There are stages to this as shown below.

Image result for perthes disease stages"

Image result for perthes disease stages"

Perthes is patient specific, meaning that each and every case is slightly different. Age of patient, stage they are in when diagnosed, etc. can all play an important part. Time and length of disease can also vary, as it's about the bone dying and being regrown.

Doctors have differences on treatment. Some are wait and see with restricted activity, some are straight to surgery. This can vary depending on patient too.

Long term effects and complications can arise, but not always. This isn't a "fix it now and be done forever" issue.

Random Info:
We've been told some small tidbits of information in appointments and as I hear more, I'll share here.

One of the biggest things is range of motion. This was mentioned at Nate's first post-op check-up. We asked about when you know he's ready to not have the brace and the doctor mentioned range of motion. So there's no time specific date for the brace, although Nate will be in for the rest of the school year - roughly 5-6 months.

Helpful Pages:
- OrthoKids
- Mayo Clinic
- Perthes 101 
- PerthesKids

Nate the Great

This will be a page I update as I find out more, helpful information. From now on though, new blog posts will deal specifically with Nate and his growth and updates. I also have a Facebook page for Nate - Nate the Great Perthes Warrior! On the page is a link to our GoFundMe, set up by my wonderful aunt, as we face a lot of medical bills. We have insurance but there's a copay and a percentage left for me to pay. 

If you have questions or comments, leave them below and I'll answer them! 

{Life Lately} Nate and Perthes Disease

It's about time for an update, so let's just jump right in and learn about what's been taking up my time, energy, money, stress levels and so much more. Edited to add: this is long and I'm trying to break it up for updates. 

In the beginning of the year, Nate, my son, started to limp. At first, we blamed the planter's wart on his foot and then the blister that the medicine made didn't help. He had the medicine put on the last week of March. The blister and healing after the blister took most of April. In May, the limping was still bad enough that we finally were able to be seen by an orthopedic doctor. One of the nurses in our local hospital's ortho unit, noticed his hips moved odd and stiff, so we had x-rays done right then. She brought up something that we had never heard about (and neither have many others) and that's Perthes Disease. It's technically Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease.

I hate the word disease, so we'll shorten it to Perthes.

So what is Perthes?

Perthes is a random, rare issue that is caused when the blood stops going to the top of the femoral head. This can happen for unknown reasons and is not necessarily trauma based. Nate wasn't in an accident, he wasn't hurt in any obvious way. He was a very active 5 year old, preschool loving, energetic boy with no previous health issues.

The doctors told us to follow the "restricted activity" method and so we pulled him from baseball and kept him from running and jumping as anyone can control an active 5 year old. He could still swim, which was great because our family's love of water and how it's a great physical activity for hip problems.

But Perthes and the lack of blood flow to the femoral head then causes the bone to die. This process can take a long time and is called Necrosis (dying bone).


The second stage is fragmentation, which is where both of Nate's hips currently are.

Image result for perthes stages"

In November, after months and months of therapy (physical therapy and water therapy), I went with my gut feeling (aka Mom's Intuition) and called Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis for a second opinion. I took Nate up by myself, thinking they would be saying something similar to what our local doctors were saying. I was wrong! He was told, by Dr. Schoenecker, that he shouldn't be walking at all and that he recommends surgery. At first I thought "really?" then realized that I went to Shriner's for a reason - they see Perthes every day, multiple times a day. They've seen it in all stages. Our local doctor has seen maybe 1-2 cases in their career. Dr. S. is also known around the United States as a leader in Perthes and Perthes treatment. As much as I hated the word surgery, I trusted this man to know what he's talking about. Dr. S also mentioned that he had it in both hips, which is even more rare. Our local doctors knew this (it was in paperwork I printed off after getting our Shriner's appointment) but never told us this.

One week before Thanksgiving, Nate went in for surgery. He came out of it wearing a Petrie Cast in bright red (his favorite color). He had a abductor tenotomy, where a tendon is cut. They were able to push one of the hips back into socket without a lot of push back and hopefully the cast will help do its job. You can read more of the treatment here, if interested.

After Christmas, Nate gets his cast off and he will get his brace. It'll still be an A frame type shape and will be worn 20 out of 24 hours of the day. Which means he'll have time for therapy and baths. I'm hoping that he will have aqua therapy again, which helps build strength.

{South Side Garden} June Update

Hello! Happy Tuesday!

I took these photos today as I realized it's time for an update. You can see that everything is growing in quite well and the mint may need to be removed, or at least cut back! 

The Bee Balm (bottom right in the above picture) is doing great. 

The Russian Sage, which I have here on our South Side Garden, and in Lily's Garden, is doing great in both locations. Almost a little too good as it's a beast in height and width, but it's beautiful and the pollinators love it! You can see in the above photo that it's behind the containers but definitely towers over things now. 

And new to me this year is Nasturtium. I bought seeds earlier this year and literally pushed them into the ground all over the yard. I had no idea if that would work but it did! It's about the only thing I've successfully grown from seeds as my poppies didn't grow this year (which I'm bummed about). I guess sunflowers have worked but those things act more as volunteers than anything else. 

The Golden Raspberries (one of the bushes in the top photo) did amazing this year. The plant grew many off shoots and I will be moving some this fall or next Spring. The fruit from the original plant was great and the kids loved it! Definitely a keeper and one to try if you haven't experimented with it. 

In the photo above, we have a blueberry (which did produce this year but it's just a baby), the golden raspberries, and tomatoes in the containers. I ate my first tomato today, a little baby cherry tomato. Behind the containers are strawberries and they are doing great. We ate two large berries last night that rivaled those you buy in the store! The lettuce and kale have been given to the chickens as their time is up in the garden. 

What are you growing? We also have blueberries in our front yard, more (regular) raspberries in the back, sunflowers, more tomatoes, loofahs (trying for the first time), and maybe a pepper plant if the chickens didn't eat it. 

{Lily's Garden} Back Half Update

Last week, I finally tackled the back half of Lily's Garden when it came to the weeds. Guys, it was bad! I had tackled the front portion over Spring Break or earlier in the year before I laid down mulch. But the back part? Nope. And then it rained, got hot, and repeated because it's Missouri and the weather likes to do that. But then, thankfully, it cooled off after some storms and so the ground was soft and the weather was good and I got my butt outside to weed. 

Three hours later, it went from a giant eyesore of green weeds, grass, and overgrown dill to where you can see my rock paths, recycled brick pavers, and my plants again. And then it sat there, exposed dirt and all, until I finally added mulch to it a week later. 

See? I mean the landscaping fabric doesn't care about stuff anymore as this was all between it and the rocks. And oh so much grass. Thankfully there was no poison ivy in the mix, as that's all in the backyard (where are my poison ivy eating goats?!). 

Stopped to enjoy the flowers I can see again. I added the above purple Scabiosa (I believe) earlier in the year and then ignored it, knowing it had enough rain to survive. 

You can see the bricks! And the rocks! It's not 100% free of weeds (probably never will be) but it's there and I can walk around and enjoy the back half as easily as I do the front. And now, I can take 30 minutes to an hour in the mornings to do light weeding, when necessary. 

I need to figure out what to do with the fireplace insert. My dad got it from an old job site of his and I used to put flower pots in it. I think it needs to be moved to a better spot, more of a focal point, but the thing is a beast and I don't really have a better spot. Suggestions? 

And to save you from scrolling back up to the top for a good before and after... here it is ...  

And then I added mulch, which needs more than one picture taken, but you can kind of see it below. You'll see it more on Instagram - follow me at thebrickbungalow 

And just so you don't have to scroll back up. Doesn't it look amazing? 
I also chopped off some of the oak leaf hydrangea as it made it hard to see the hostas, the hidden baby hydrangea back there (baby in size, not years, that needs moved) and some astilbe I planted last year. 

Want to see more garden photos? 

Lily's Garden - what you see above and more of the same space
Side Yard - our little area that is well used with containers and herbs
Back Yard - a mix of everything in our backyard including gardens no longer there

{South Side Garden} Update

Hello again friends! Have you checked out my other recent posts about the "Dog House Garden" or a look into our inside plants with a bathroom update featuring my orchids? I'll be posting some Lily's Garden updates soon! 

This is an update for our South Side Garden, and it already needs another update as summer time in the garden has plants growing fast! 

Starting from the right and going left (since that's how I took the next few photos), we have a blueberry plant inside the cage and what I believe is a bee balm in the corner. I may have to remove that as it's about the only plant that will bother my allergies. Next, and looking great, is a golden raspberry. Strawberries, which are planted in the back behind the pots, and are sneaking around front. In the first container there is lettuce but now it's a tomato. 

The containers with kale and lettuce are now homes to tomatoes. The mint has taken over the front portion of the garden and may be thinned, or removed, this fall. If you need some mint, let me know! There are a ton of beautiful strawberry plants and a Russian Sage in the back. 

On the fence is a clematis, which I love, but it's not looking great. 

I revamped the AC and meter area with more colorful rocks, a larger area, and a plant to help hide the AC. Nothing too fancy as I don't want it to be fully blocked, but a good way to add some more color and use out of an area I don't want weeds, grass or a lot of plants in. 

I'd love to continue the garden from the AC to the front of the house with the addition of more large containers and more herbs and flowers. Time will tell on that one. 

{Back Yard} Dog House Garden

Hello! I'm back again with another garden update - this time with the backyard area, that I'll call "the dog house garden" although we never really call it that. Do you name your garden spaces? We have Lily's Garden, the "South Side Garden" (which I only use as it's on the south side of the house, we sometimes call it "the garden outside the TV room window"), and then there is the backyard, which includes a bunch of other spaces. It can get confusing. 

Anyway... the doghouse, which is definitely used more by chickens in the rain than any of my dogs, was the original piece in this area. It went to a large tree years ago (to the right of the picture above) but it came down years ago after a bad ice storm. I then sent out a plea for large galvanized containers and my parents found them all (minus the little square one) from a farmer they knew. If I could have more of them, they'd be used as raised beds in a veggie garden. Some day... The little square one was my grandmother's. 

I made this space years ago and it fell into "needs work" category but not high on our lists as the backyard gets ignored. But I bought more bags of mulch than I needed for Lily's Garden so I decided to spruce it up. I had already started by weeding it pretty extensively. Truth be told, it needs more help but you can't see it in this picture. I'm also thinking of adding a tall Japanese maple in the back corner where we haven't had luck growing other things. 

See those containers on the stairs to nowhere? The painted ones are from a friend (hi Candace!) and they finally have some transplanted plants in them. The other two are just random ones we've collected and put up here. 

Most of the supplies for this garden were free - from the galvanized containers to the rocks (taken from my parent's farm) to the gravel (from our front yard before we redid our sidewalks) to the plants (mostly from other plants and some from the farm). I did buy some lavender as my chickens won't touch it. The doghouse was made by my dad and his students when he taught construction. The stone borders were leftovers from a project at my parents' house. Not too bad for a mostly free area, right? 

Now you can view all "Dog House Garden" posts here


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