Friday, September 24, 2010

Short, Sweet, & to the Point...Our Quick Trip to Denver

WOW what a crazy past few days! Just 1 week ago today (almost to the minute) I was on the phone with Denver Children's Hospital making an appt with a pediatric dermatologist. We packed up & left on Sunday at 9:00am. After getting gas we were on the road at 9:30am. Long story short...we only had to stop about 5 times on the way down. We got there 11 hrs 15 mins 8:15pm. Not bad for our first road trip together!

Sunday night we did nothing...which was nice cause we were both tired. Monday we got up & sat around for a little while. Then we went to the mall for lunch, walked around, & then went to Target. Then went back to Jenn's & ordered dinner & went to bed. Jenn showed me my new favorite place...a frozen yogurt shop where you serve yourself. There were like 10 different kinds & you could mix & match as much as you wanted. Then there were tons of different types of toppings, too!!! Ahhhh I was in heaven. For those of you who don't know...I don't like ice cream so frozen yogurt is my fav-or-ite!!!!!!!!! So I had to partake in some yogurt...almost $8 worth of it, too!

Monday we got up & went to the mall in search of the Disney store....LOL it'd been out of business at that mall for 3 years! But I did get something I'd been looking for for a while now though. I was SOOOO excited. I'd been looking for some type of head covering for Brooklyn when she has her expanders in her head. Something that was more fitting around the forehead but huge around the rest of her head. I thought maybe a scarf would work but I wasn't quite sure how I'd tie it. Anyways, we were walking by Aldo Accessories & Jenn saw it! I loved it so much & was so confident that it was the PERFECT hat that I bought 3! Here it is:

Tuesday afternoon was her dermatologist appt. It was at the new Children's about huge & super nice!!! I actually found the place quite easily & then found the office pretty quick, too. I'm glad I took Brooklyn in her stroller though cause it would have been a lot for me to carry everything. We checked in & they took her weight & stuff. Then we went to the room where the nurse asked us a bunch of questions. When she was done a resident came in & I answered pretty much the same questions for her. Then the doctor came in. Her name is Dr. Joanna Burch & she came in with a slew of residents & fellows!

I'd told them that we're seeing Dr. Bauer in Chicago starting in January so Dr. Burch asked outright..."Why are you here & not in Chicago?" She was very straight forward, but was very nice about it too. I told her why...cause it's much easier for us to get to Denver than it is to get to Chicago. She completely understood; but then said that if we have to follow up with the surgeon in Chicago every year or so then she'll give me the name of a pediatric dermatologist in Chicago that we can see in stead of us going both to Chicago & Denver. Totally makes perfect sense to me, but I'm sure that we don't follow up with Dr. Bauer. She said that she's perfectly fine seeing Brooklyn if we don't follow up with anyone else after the surgery; but we don't need to follow up every year. Every other year would be just fine with her.

She felt her nevus, looked at it, checked her skin for satellites - and then said that she looks great! She said that Dr. Bauer is an excellent doctor who will do a fantastic job. She said that our plan is right on track & is happy with our choices. She did, however, make sure that we're having an MRI to check for NCM. I assured her that we're having it the 4th of Jan. She was very concerned about NCM & wanted to make sure that Brooklyn was developing properly & that things were going ok for her, which I assured her they were.

And that was it! She said Brooke looks great & she doesn't need to see her before the surgery unless she develops any nodules, black bumps/spots, or get's irritable & is showing signs of developmental delays. Other than that we can probably make an appt to see her again about a year after the surgeries are over.

Later that night we went to the Outback for dinner, then went back, packed up our stuff, & went to bed. Wednesday AM we got up & were on the road at 9am. I honestly could NOT have asked for a better child that day. She was absolutely perfect! She slept for 3 1/2 hrs so I was able to drive from Denver & not stop until we got to Casper, WY! There we got out, stretched, got gas, changed a diaper, got something to drink, & got back on the road. We stopped again once & then stopped in Billings, where we went to WalMart for a bit. I got her out of her seat so she could stretch & move around. We'd have made it home in 10 hrs but we had to stop at WalMart so we made it home in 11hrs! I'm still quite impresed! :o)

I came home to find my cookbook proof waiting for me! It turned out absolutely amazing. I'm VERY happy with it. I'm now proofing it one last time before I send it in to the company to be printed. They should be shipped by 10/26/10, which just so happens to be our anniversary! :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Let's Pack Up & Go...Like NOW!!!

Well where to start.... 
A week ago today I decided that Brooklyn's hair needed to be cut...bad! I'd already buzz-cut it before so I wasn't nervous at all. I got out the buzz-cutters & started cutting. I was thinking back to when I'd cut it before & I could have sworn that I'd used the shortest setting. Well after doing one run through with the cutters, I quickly realized......I was wrong! Oh my gosh!!! I couldn't go back so I just had to continue with what I was doing. I kept apologizing to her cause in the end her hair was SO short. It was so short she looked like a boy & I just cried & kept telling her how sorry I was! Well what's done is done, I thought. To make matters worse though, we had an appointment to get the girls pictures taken at Sears on Tuesday (just 3 days later).

So Tuesday came & I just ended up putting a bow on her you can't really tell all that much in the pictures that her hair is that short. The pictures turned out absolutely amazing, by the way. (See below.)

In the time after I'd accidentally cut her hair so short I just started looking at her nevus. I noticed that it's changing a lot. Some hair grows up, other hair grows down, or to the right & left. There's dark spots & light spots. The weirdest thing though is this very dark patch on her head. You can actually see it in the pictures. It's SO dark, but the weird thing is that the skin is actually very light! It's the hair that's super dark. But the hair on the rest of the nevus is lighter & then the nevus itself is darker.

Now, it's 100% normal for a nevus to change like that, but after looking at it for a few days I realized that I'd really like a pediatric dermatologist to look at it. I'm the only one that hasn't taken my nevus-owning child to see a dermatologist. It's a pretty important thing to do. They look at it, see how it's changing, & then follow up about once a year after it's removed to make sure that it's not turning malignant. (By removing the nevus it drastically reduces the risk of developing melanoma; however, it's 100% impossible to get every single cell during the removal process, so even though the risk is incredibly low, there's still a very small chance that it can turn malignant after the removal process is over.) So I thought "We need to see a dermatologist."

My big problem now though is who do we see? One of the best in the country is located in NYC. He actually spoke at the Nevus Outreach conference so he was on the top of my list. But how difficult to go to NYC now...and then every single year!! My next option was to go to someone in Chicago. If we have to go there for the surgeries anyways then why not see the derm there? But again, after the whole surgery process is over it'll be pretty hard to get to Chicago once a year. So the next best option is to go to Denver Children's Hospital. It's within driving distance...where I can drive there in 1 day and it can actually be a quick trip. So I asked around to some nevus outreach friends & then searched the Denver Children's website. I sent in an inquiry on Wednesday & was supposed to hear back from them on Thurs. I never heard anything so I said that I'll call them on Friday if I still haven't heard back. I got home about 1:15pm and there was a message on the was from the dermatology dept giving me the name of the best person for us to see. I called them RIGHT back & they took down all of our information & then said that she could see us on the 21st. I saw that it was a Tuesday & said that I'd take it. I needed to see if someone could work for me that day, but figured it'd be ok. So I put the appt in my phone & when I was looking at the calendar I realized that oh my gosh that's THIS COMING Tuesday!!! LOL!! I guess I didn't realize we were this far into September already!

So I hung up with them, called the lady that works for us and thank goodness she could!!! Then I called my co-worker to tell her what was going on, then called my friend to see if we could stay with her, then called & told Dustin, then my mom! Whew!! I was on the phone pretty much for a solid 2 hrs getting everything in order. I think it's meant to be b/c everything just fell into place. So then I started doing laundry & getting things together for our drive. I figured we'd leave Sunday, have Monday to hang out with Jennifer, then the appt Tuesday, and drive back Wed. I'm not nervous at all...except that I think it'll take a lot longer than 10 hrs to get there. :o(  I have a feeling I'll be stopping a lot to comfort/feed/hold Brooklyn. My mom can't go with b/c it's such short notice so it'll just be the 2 of us. We'll get it done...and we'll be fine...but I'm a little concerned that I'll have to stop a lot...which will make both Sunday & Wednesday LOOOOONG days!

I'll write again after we see the derm & let you know how it went! :o)  Keep us in your thoughts & prayers ESPECIALLY Sunday & Wednesday!!! Here's some pics from Sears that we got taken on Tuesday. They were Cali's 2 year pics & Brooklyn's 6 month pics!

Cali - 2 years

Cali Berlin

Brooklyn - 6 months

Brooklyn Marie

Cali & Brooklyn in their matching ducky outfits - thanks to Auntie Valerie!

Cali (2) & Brooklyn (6 mos) in their matching dresses from Gramma Vance

Cali & Brookie

Brooklyn & Cali

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jewelry Anyone????

We have a family friend who is doing something wonderful for us. She's a consultant with CookieLee jewelry & has generously offered to have a catalog party for us. ALL the proceeds go to Brooklyn's fund for all of our Chicago trips! How nice & thoughtful...I'm so blessed to know such great people.
Anyways, the info is below. My grandma is actually the "hostess" of the party so this letter is what she sent out to her friends & our family. Please let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for the consideration!!!

Dear Friends and Family,

Hi! This note is to let you know that I am hosting a COOKIE LEE JEWELRY CATALOG PARTY to benefit BROOKLY MARIE, daughter of Dustin and Merilee Vance. They are raising money for numerous trips they will be making to Chicago for a medical condition that Brooklyn has. The money will be used for travel expenses, insurance deductibles, hotel expenses, and anything else that their insurance won't cover.

For more information regarding Brooklyn's condition and what will be needed go to: If you would like to contact them please write to

Our Cookie Lee consultant, Deneva Henry, has graciously offered to sponsor this fund-raiser for Brooklyn. All of the profits from the Catalog Party will go to the fund to help with the extra expenses.

GOOD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No matter where you live you can be part of this party! Deneva has a website where you can see the jewelry. Go to to see the jewelry and to place an order. After ordering, it is important to e-mail her to let her know that you placed an order for Brooklyn's Fundraiser and give her your name so she will credit Brooklyn's account. .

This party will go until September 12, 2010 so please place your order before then. For any questions please let me know.

Thank you for your time and help with this fundraiser...and May God bless you.

Lois Osburn, Brooklyn's great-grandmother