New Job

I have some exciting news, I just accepted a new job at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a senior level research position. This means that we will moving around the middle of June back west. This a wonderful opportunity for our family and my career as I finish up my PhD this spring. We are sad to leave the wonderful friends that we have made in Florida, but as John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go”. We are exited to be back closer to family and friends from college as well has to be near mountains again. Now the fun of the logistics of selling a house and moving (so if anyone knows anyone interested in buying our house let them know its on Zillow).

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Out of the Deep freeze!

Hey all!

We have been a little busy lately so have neglected the blog.  Christmas was really nice, the kids enjoyed having Daddy home for almost 2 weeks. Heidi got a bike and James got a train set from Santa. Lots of smiles and pictures in the gallery. We spent most of January trying to stay warm and even ended up with some burst pipes in the barn. Derek had to replace and repair one of the automatic waters in the barn.

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We do have unfortunate news as Buck passed away in the middle of January from Colic. He was a great horse and we all miss him but we are glad that we had him for a few years and he taught our kids how to ride.

My health has had a little set back as the Ulcerative Colitis has flared up again. After a multi Doctor conference it was decided that I will start a drug called Remicade. It works the same way the Cimzia but they did not want to put me on the same drug again on the off chance it would make me clot again. Other than that things are going pretty good here, glad that our weather has warmed up and we are looking forward to Spring!

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2013 A Wet Year

Last year my weather station recorded 98.13 inches of rain here, that is over 36 in above average. It really helped us get out of a drought and bring the lakes back up, but we had some really wet months. Hope everyone has a great New Year

2013 Rain Month Total

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Christmas Letter 2013

December 5 2013

Volume 9

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas again! It has been another busy year for the Tucker Family with lots going on!. The first major thing that happened this year was Nichole’s stay in the Hospital due to the blood clot in her left leg. The whole story is on the blog for those who have not read it yet, but she is doing much better now and is able to do almost everything that she had previous to the clot. She was recently released from the Primary at church and is now teaching Sunday School for the 14 – 15 year olds and getting back to teaching riding lessons.

Derek, besides being busy with taking care of Nichole has been working hard on his Ph.D.. He just recently passed his essay defense and now has to finish up the research and write the final dissertation, and have the final defense, which should be in the next 6-9 months. He has been working hard as the Clerk at church and was able to go on a backpacking trip with the Boy Scouts, which was shortened due to the extensive rain.

Heidi has been growing like crazy and is starting to read small words, write and expand her vocabulary. She has also been learning how to ride the horses by her self and she is getting pretty good at listening to directions from Mommy, though it does help that Emma is so patient.

James has been growing too and really starting to get good at talking. He had to learn really quick when Nichole was in the hospital since he stayed with quite a few people that did not know how to interpret his grunts! He has also started riding and loves to be on the horse with Daddy and now a little bit by himself. He also loves the tractor so he and Daddy get plenty of time together when there is tractor work to be done!

We were able to take two trips this year as a family. The first was to Nebraska to see Derek’s sister Traci’s family and their new house. We loved being able to have the kids spend time with their cousin JJ and we all had a good time. We were also able to go to Burley, ID to see Derek’s Grandparents that live there. It was a big family reunion with almost all of their family there. It was great to see everyone and let the kids play with their cousins. Nichole’s family was able to come for Thanksgiving this year and it was nice to have the holiday with them at our Home.

We are so grateful as a family to all those that helped our family this year during our ordeal. The prayers given in our behalf were felt and we are very appreciative for them; and the continued support that we get from our friends and family. We are very grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the influence that it has in our lives especially during times of trial. We hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and are able to feel the love of our Savior at this time of year.

Love,

Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

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Week 21

Hey all!

Just updating the blog about the Dr. appointment that I have last week. It was the Ultrasound to double check my veins and to make sure the stints and filter were still in place and working. It went very well and everything is where it is supposed to be! The filter was clear so no clots were attached or flowing through, which is a very good thing. The other thing was that both of my legs were clear which is the most important. The interesting thing is though that the right leg had evidence of a clot at some point in my upper thigh, but it occluded, which means the thinners did their job and allowed the vein to absorb the clot and allow flow to resume. They think it happened some time while I was in the hospital. So this means that I now have to wear the compression socks on both legs all the time. I admit that I am not as good about this as I should be but I am getting better about it. Since I was pretty much clear I do not have to go back until next year for a yearly Ultrasound on the filter to make sure it is still there and not getting clogged. Other than that things have been going pretty well. I am still gaining back some feeling in my lower left leg around my ankle, though the progress has slowed so I do not know how much more will be coming back.

We also have a visit from Grammy and Papa last weekend. The kids were super excited to see them and we had lots of fun. Papa was still recovering from his back surgery but he was doing pretty good! The kids had lots of fun and were excited to go to the beach. We drove to Mexico beach which is about an hour and 20 min from our house to the south east. It was fun to see a different part of the coast and the kids had fun harassing the seagulls.

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We also got Papa and Grammy to help us take some family photos while they were here and it was nice to have the extra hands! They turned out pretty good considering we had 2 horses and 2 kids to try to keep in line!

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There are more in the gallery so go take a look along with the beach pictures. That about sums up the happenings around here, we are just excited for fall with the weather starting to turn cooler!

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Recover weeks 17 – 20

Hey all!

Things have been pretty busy around here with not much going on in the way of recovery so I have not posted much. I did have a follow up with the Plastic Surgeon and he said that my hip was healing up well. I have to go back and see him in December so he can check the progress but he does not think he will be doing any re-sizing surgery on it until February or March. I just have to keep it hydrated with lotion to allow the skin to regenerate so that it can keep the tissue healthy by itself.

My leg is doing better, though I am still having some nerve pain when it gets hit or rubbed the wrong way. I have been riding the horses more and I am still in the English saddle to keep my hip from being rubbed raw, but this saddle is harder on my leg. This means that I am having trouble riding several days in a row. As long as I have a day in between it seems to be doing ok, but it is kind of a bummer since the weather has been so nice that I have to keep my feet on the ground.

Derek has been busy with 2 work trips one to San Diego and the other to Italy. Both for meetings on his various projects that he is working on. He had an enjoyable time though was pretty jet lagged from both trips since they were both done within 2 and a half weeks. The kids have been doing great. Heidi is having fun with the pre-school work that she has been doing and both she and JW were excited to help with the fall garden. We are also getting ready to separate the kids into their own rooms so we have a new desk area in the living room to allow us to get rid of the huge desk we have. We are sad to see it go but it is time for the kids and their toys to have their own space!

I have an ultrasound appointment with the Vascular Surgeon in a couple of weeks so I will post another update after that! Hope you all are doing well!

 

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Recovery week 16

Hey all!

Well we have been enjoying some rain free weather the past few days which has made the mornings cooler and we are loving it! I did receive some news this week from the Hematologist about the test results from the blood work he did. He found that I have a clotting disorder called Protein S Deficiency. What this means is that my blood does not have the correct coding to shut off the clotting function in my blood. It basically is over compensating all the time. Coupling this with the May-Thurner syndrome of the veins is probably what caused the DVT. There is not much to do for this other than to stay on the blood thinner which I am currently taking. I do have an increased risk of clotting again even on the medication so I will have to be careful to watch out for that. It is also inheritable so my siblings and children may be at risk for having the disease, so they will need to be tested eventually. There is not much more of a lifestyle change or anything else I will just have to be monitored for the rest of my life. ( Like that is a new feeling with all the other stuff I have :) Over all it is good to know that this is something I can manage and may never have issue with again. On the plus side the symptoms of my UC seem to have reduced so the Dr. thinks this may have been the cause of the UC. That will not be determined until I go back to the Gastro, but it is nice to know there may be and end for some of that trouble. Other than that things are getting back to normal and I am extremely pleased with the progress that I have made over these few short weeks. I know my Heavenly Father has looked out for me and blessed me with this fast recovery.  I go back to see the plastic surgeon next week, hopefully for the last time for a while and I am looking for ward to the family reunion coming up in Burley ID. It will be nice to see the crazy Caresia clan again! Hope all is well and I will post again next week after the appointment!

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Recovery week 15

Hi!

Well these past few weeks have been going pretty well for me. First of all I was able to shower normally which has been extremely exciting for me! It is so much nicer to not have to worry about the bandage getting wet. While the hip still does have a bandage on most of the time since it is not 100% closed it is getting much better with only a couple of spots that are being stubborn about healing. The donor sight from the skin graft is looking very good, still pretty red but getting much less sensitive and parts around the edges are starting to turn back to the normal pink skin tone. The leg is doing better with the scars starting to turn a little bit lighter. The leg had been giving me some tough nights and I had to go back on the pain pills for a couple of days but I actually put the drop down boot back on at night for about a week and that helped tremendously. I think it helped it to relax and stretch out after walking so much during the day. I am up to about 6,000 steps, according to the pedometer,  before getting too tired which is fantastic considering when I came home I could only do about 200 max. Some days vary being a little more or less depending on what we do. I have found though that standing still for long periods of time is actually more strenuous on my leg than walking longer distances. I am going to have to ask the Doctor about that when I go back in October.

The  most fun I have had in the last couple of weeks has been getting into the pool with the kids for the first time, they are starting to swim by themselves with their arm bands. We had a great time and would have gone more than twice in the last couple of weeks had it not been for all the rain we are still getting. I have ridden twice more since the last post, though both were not very long due to rain. I went back to riding in my English saddle as it seems to interfere less with my hip. After the last post I noticed that the western saddle had rubbed my bandage a bit and caused a little sore spot. Anyway it is probably for the better since it requires more balance and leg strength to ride in the English saddle which will help strengthen my leg muscles. For now we are just waiting to go back to the Hematologist next week to see what he says about the tests and if I do have another issue to deal with. I am hoping that I don’t and that I was just extremely unlucky to get both complications, while being extremely lucky to have survived them both! The kids are growing like weeds and Heidi is excited to start doing the home school pre-K we decided we would do with her this year. Derek is also getting ready to go back to FSU and has returned to work full time since the sequester is now over. We are so thankful for all our blessings in this regard. Hope all is well and I will update when I have some more news!

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Recovery week 12

This week Heidi and JW went to the Doctor for their yearly check-up’s and I went to my appointments as usual. Heidi has grow 3 inches and gained 6 pounds in a year. JW grew 2 inches  and gained 3 pounds in the last 6 months. They are both in the 25th percentile for weight and 50 – 60th percentile for height.  The Doctor said they are both doing well and are probably just going to be tall and skinny.

My recovery is going well. I saw Dr. Mockler this week and he said I was healed enough to be able to let the graft and donor sights get wet. This means that I can shower like a normal human being and get into the pool with the kids. I was so excited to take a real shower it was so nice not to have to worry about getting a bandage wet! I do not have to go back to see him for a whole month. The other Doctor I went to go and see was a Hematologist. He took some blood to see if I have a genetic blood disorder that makes me prone to clots. If I do have one of the disorders he is testing for it may explain why I had the compartment syndrome and the hemitoma. If I don’t have one of them, then it was just an unlucky coincidence that I had both of these side effects. The results will take a few weeks so I will be going back to see him at the end of August.

I was able to ride again for a little while on Saturday and loped Emma around for a little bit. It was really nice to be able to do more than just walk around. We have been getting some more rain but did have one full 24 hours without any rain, which was a welcomed relief. Hopefully we will get a few more dry days soon. That is all that is going on here. I will update again when I have some more news!

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Recovery week 11

Not much going on this week, we have been able to dry out a little bit from all the rain but we are still getting some pretty much every day. The leg is continuing to get better, though my ankle has been giving me some trouble this week. I have been able to cut down on the pain meds and only use them about every other night. Unfortunately it seems that coming off the meds at night is triggering some insomnia so I have not been sleeping very well. The best news of the week was that I was able to get on Emma and ride for a little bit. I used my new exercise saddle that I got for Valentines day as it is more padded in the seat than my Western saddle. I did pretty well but I know I have a long way to go before I am back in riding shape. My Ankle was what hurt the most, which I think is from keeping my heels down, and forcing the muscles and tendons to stretch.

The hip is doing well and seems to be almost completely closed together. I go back in next week to have Dr. Mockler look at it again and I hope he is pleased with how the graft has taken. The Donor sight is doing much better and seems to not be as sensitive, though it is still very red. I can sit almost normally which is much more comfortable then always leaning to the left side.

JW has been trying out patients as he is learning to sleep in a toddler bed and not in a crib anymore. He has learned the art of running back to the bed when Mom or Dad comes and how to open the door. He is certainly a boy and a trying one at that. Heidi has been doing pretty well and both of the kids have been enjoying getting in our friends’ pool. We hope you all are doing well!

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