Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall layering & Alice in Wonderland Coat

Happy Thursday! 

Today was a pretty gloomy day in Rochester, but the lighting was perfect for a fun photoshoot at the Plummer house and surrounding areas. I fell in love with this coat that I got from last year. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland for some reason. Maybe it's because of the ginormous buttons and the cute bow. It has a nice, light wool fabric that's perfect for fall layering. 

The Plummer house

Ready for an interesting and brief history lesson? Pictured behind me is the Plummer mansion. Dr. Henry Plummer was a well known internist and endocrinologist who also founded Mayo Clinic alongside the Mayo brothers. Not only was he a great physician, Dr. Plummer was a successful inventor. He was the first to develop a cable-carrier system, directed the diagnostic and research laboratories. He was the first to understand and operate the X-ray machine, and was known as a pioneer in the development of Xray diagnosis and therapy. Furthermore, he was also the one to put forth the idea of medical records, and facilitate the organization of documentation! There is so much history of medicine in Rochester. I feel so privileged to be part of this incredible organization and contribute to it (even though I'm really not doing much).

The home is apparently beautifully furnished on the inside, but I haven't had a chance to see it yet. Perhaps another time! The mansion is mostly used now as a rental facility for parties/events/weddings.

Lesson in Medicine

Plummer-Vinson syndrome was named after Dr. Plummer: a constellation of symptoms consisting of dysphagia due to esophageal webs, iron deficiency anemia and atrophic glossitis/stomatitis. Cause: Mostly unknown, but may have genetic and nutritional components. Occurs mostly in post-menopausal women. 
There you go. Internal medicine residents- This may show up on your boards. You'll thank me later

I am again using my favorite layering piece: The lace peplum shirt. I think I've worn it every single day this week. It adds the perfect bit of femininity to any outfit, and it's not too bulky. It looks really beautiful with a suit too. I think I'll be using it for many future posts to come. I hope it's not against fashion blogging rules? I'm pretty new at this, so I may break a few rules here and there :)

This sweater I almost forgot about, but I had gotten it at Plato's closet (one of my favorite stores) for $2.50. They buy and sell gently used clothing. You probably won't get much for your clothes if you sell it to them. I think between 50 cents and a few bucks, but occasionally they'll have these amazing extra 50% sales off reduced items, where literally I'll walk out of the store with 10 pieces of clothing for under 20 bucks. It's amazing. Too bad there aren't any in Rochester.

|| Outfit ||

Sweater: Thrifted from Plato's closet for $2.50!
Lace layer: Peplum top from (As seen here)
Pleated skirt: Halogen
Jacket: ruche (last year)
Shoes: Thrifted from Plato's closet for $5!

Daily dose of Grace

Praise God, still no seizures!! WOO HOOO!! Her bump is gone after her last surgery!! We did have to take her to the emergency room last week. She scratched one of her sutures off and started oozing CSF (Brain fluid) from that wound site. They stitched her back up and she's good to go again. She has re-learned how to cry and is starting to whine a lot more about things- which I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing. This is her last week of weaning off Sabril and we haven't seen any spasms. Another thing to be thankful for!! Thank you for your continued prayers for her recovery!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Something wonderful is growing

Okay, so first of all, no I'm not pregnant.

Last weekend, I traveled to Cleveland, Ohio for my best friend, Rachelle's babyshower! She will be expecting a little girl in early December, and I can't wait to see the little angel. I especially can't wait for her and Grace to meet. We are going to force them to become best friends just like their mothers. I don't care if they hate each other. They are going to be best friends, yes they are!

This fabulous baby shower was organized by the one and only Beverly Lam, along with the talented help of Nancy Fong, Esther Fang and Charlene (church friends of Rachelle's). Beverly and Rachelle have the most creative ability to plan and organize the most amazing parties. I haven't been to many baby showers, but this one, themed "Something wonderful is growing"looked like something straight out of a magazine. I wish I had their talent, but all I really know how to do is plan games. Haha.

The baby shower was hosted at Nancy Fong's beautiful home (thank you, Nancy for opening up your home and helping with the shower!) The decor consisted of a table filled with colorful ribbons and creative supplies for a hair bow making activity, a onesie display with various stuffed plush vegetable toys, lots of food, painted mason jars with lavender flowers... AHHH and so much more! See below!

Forgot to mention that Beverly is also expecting :) 

Love the colorful fruit display. I think that orange with the little pink pacifier is hilariously cute

Vegetable decorated cupcakes with assorted flavors. Made by Esther and Charlene

Spray painted mason jars with lavender flowers. 

Stuffed plush vegetable toys

Hanging onesie display and vegetable toys from The Gap

The wishing tree: Green Leafs- notes for Rachelle and Mike. Butterflies- notes for Maleia

Assortment of colorful ribbons, soft fabric and decorative items for DIY hairclips

End result!

Giant plush toy friends.

Being silly

Welcome Baby Maleia, we cannot wait to meet you!

The highlight of this trip was not only being able to see Rachelle, Beverly and be part of this baby shower, it was also being able to meet all of her friends from Church who have been praying faithfully for baby Grace. It was so nice to be able to put a face to all the names on the email chains that I've received over the past few months while we were in the hospital. We appreciate you guys so much and could not have gotten through these past few months without your loving support and prayers. Thank you again and again. I hope to see you guys again soon!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Goosecrap lakeside Rendezvous

Things that make me happy

- Grace is much better. Her fevers are gone! She's happy again and laughing again, back to her normal self within a week of her surgery. Unbelievable! Praise God!
- Fall colors- especially in Minnesota. Absolutely beautiful.
- Crisp weather
- Spending time with family! Dad and Grandma are back from China. The whole family is together again!
- Clothes from :)
- Blogging as stress relief. Haha

Today Aaron and I took a stroll around Silver lake. The weather was a bit on the colder side, but I couldn't help it. We've been cooped up in the hospital all week, I just had to get out and enjoy what's left of Autumn before it gets real cold in Minnesota. We nicknamed this lake "Goose crap lake" because last year we went paddle-boating on the lake and realized very quickly that there is nothing silver about this lake. It's literally filled to the top with goose crap. This area is infested with Canadian geese. They're everywhere!  Apparently they're endangered, and are very precious to this local area, therefore we can't shoot them... as much as I'd like to. 

Ever since our move to Minnesota, I had been doing a lot of online shopping. Mostly because there's really nowhere to shop here. One of my favorite online shops is They have the cutest, vintage inspired clothes for a very affordable price. I try to look for things that are versatile and work appropriate. This white, peplum lace shirt was a great addition to both my casual and work wear collection. I really wish they had a boutique nearby!!

I know it's kind of hard to see, but the belt came with the orange tweed skirt. It comes with these cute, gold detailed hardware consisting of a lock and key. Super cute

I am in LOVE with the above bag. It's the Prada saffiano lux tote, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Aaron got it for me last year...he spoils me so much! (I think he got it for me because he secretly wants to carry the bag). I carry it with me mostly to work, but it also goes well with any type of casual wear. I can fit a TON of things in there, including my books, notes, laptop, etc and never loses its shape because of the durable leather, and it's so well crafted. Plus, it's so durable and heavy that it can also serve as a pretty dangerous weapon if you need to use it to take a swipe at someone for whatever self defense reason! 

|| Outfit ||

White peplum lace top:
Orange tweed skirt:
Cardigan: Banana republic
Shoes: Tahari
Bag: Prada saffiano

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Titanium head

We had an interesting weekend, to say the least. 

Last Thursday

Grace had another MRI to take a look at the bump over her head that kept fluctuating in size. She had a follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon the next morning. The results were not what we expected. She had a large pocket of CSF (brain fluid) that was outside, but it was definitely communicating with another pocket of fluid on the inside causing enough pressure that it was pushing against the left side of her brain. If this went on long enough, eventually her left hemisphere would've slowly atrophied. We did notice some subtle changes with her- she wouldn't eat as enthusiastically as before, and sometimes she would be tremulous when she sat for a long time, like she couldn't hold herself up as well. She seemed to startle a lot easier. One time Aaron made a loud, funny sound to entertain her. Instead, she startled in fear, shook uncontrollably and started crying. We didn't know what that was all about. Yes, daddy is scary looking, but he never scared her THAT much.

During the neurosurgery appointment, it was pretty much concluded that she needed another surgery. When? Well our awesome neurosurgeon was ready to drop everything that morning and take her to surgery immediately. He was leaving for the weekend, and didn't want anything to happen while he was away. It was one of those moments where we felt so blessed to be at the Mayo Clinic. I don't think this process could've been expedited any sooner anywhere else. The needs of the patient truly come first. Within hours, she was in the operating room.

What they found in the OR was strange. She had a bone skull fragment that was sunken in and partially resorbing due to the external pressure of the swelling. In addition, there was a large tear in the dura (outer membrane of the brain) that was about the size of a quarter and the source of her CSF leak. They were able to repair the leak and placed a subdural-peritoneal drain to help remove some more of the fluid in the long term setting. They took out the degraded bone fragment and replaced with 5 small plates of titanium. Our hopes are that as her skull heals and grows, it will grow over the titanium plates and eventually everything will just scar over.

Emergence delirium

Praise God the surgery itself went well. The nightmare came afterwards. 
When she woke up from the anesthesia, the poor thing was terrified. She didn't recognize us. In fact, every time we tried to pick her up to comfort her, she would start trembling VIOLENTLY and scream out in horror. I have never heard her scream like that before. It was a scream of pure pain and fear. It was the type of scream I would imagine if someone was getting their limbs chopped off. I held her in my arms and cradled her. Aaron and I sang to her, prayed..prayed and prayed for it to go away. She continued to tremble and scream. One time she shook so hard she convulsed for about 5 seconds and looked like a seizure. She did this over and over for about 3 hours until she finally calmed down in the ICU after repeated doses of sedatives. I don't know how I held it together during that time, but I had to do my best to stay rock solid and not break down. 

They call this phenomenon "Emergence delirium", which is commonly seen after someone awakes from anesthesia. I hope I will never have to witness this again. Her screams have been permanently lodged in my memory and it's a sound I will never forget.

The next few days continued to be challenging as she battled the discomfort of continuous high grade fevers. She was still scared of everything- every new face and sound, everytime someone tried to move her or hold her, it really upset her. This hospitalization was so different from the previous. When she was younger, she didn't know better, but now that she's older and is able to feel emotions of fear/anxiety, this experience was much more traumatizing for her and for us. Blood draws were almost impossible, and we still don't know if these fevers are related to an infection. The medical team had assumed that it is more centrally related, because if this was truly an infection, she would be a lot more ill.

Coming home

Over the next few days, she did better and we were able to take her home yesterday. Grandma prepared a nice bouquet of flowers to welcome her home. She still has some fevers here and there, but they're not nearly as uncomfortable for her. The swelling over her head has definitely shrunken in size, and she's a much happier camper nowadays :)

God's Grace

The strange thing is, when all this happened again, Aaron and I looked at each other and understood what we had to do. We were prepared for whatever was going to happen. We went through 6 weeks of this before, so as soon as we got to the hospital room on the first day, we knew our roles like the back of our hand. The hospital was familiar to us, and was like our second home. It was like our surrounding church community, friends, family all knew what to do too. Everyone started praying for Grace and spreading the word without hesitation or second thought. In many ways, this hospital stay was harder for our family than the previous, but God had prepared us. Every situation prepares us for the next. Though in heat of the moment, things may seem scary and out of control, but we have learned not to fear or be anxious, because God will never forsake you.

Each step of the way, Grace has gotten a little bit better. This is just another part of her journey. Thank you, everyone for being a part of her journey. She is one of the luckiest girls in the world to be loved by all of you.