Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Frequent Surgery

We have each had around 100 surgeries in our lifetime.  This past Tuesday, Maliyah just had her biannual back surgery (Click here for a back surgery recap from 18 months ago).  Since our separation, we have both had them every six months, but Kendra probably won't have to have another one unless something goes wrong with her VEPTR (Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib, a titanium rod that runs the length of our spines).
For us, surgery isn't everyday, but it is a routine which influences our overall lifestyle.  We want to share with you our experience with surgery and answer any questions you might have.
Kendra Before Surgery
Frequency: To preface, we usually have surgery about once every sixth months, but sometimes we need it more often for different things.  The reason behind our repeating surgeries is that our bodies need a little more help since they aren't like everybody else's.
What is frequent surgery like: We have had surgery often, but it is still exhausting every time.  Of course, pain is to be expected, but it is hard to remember how bad the pain truly is.  It can be difficult to get a good night's rest after surgery because the pain wakes us up.
Leading up to Surgery: Neither of us look forward to surgery.  One of Kendra's biggest fears is not waking up from surgery.  For both of us, the pain is something to dread.
Hospital Staff: The Hospital Staff is amazing and always takes great care of us.  A question that we have been asked is if everybody knows who we are when we walk into the hospital.  Surprisingly, not many know us well.  That being said, a few have had us as patients throughout the years and are able to recognize us quickly.
After Surgery: For larger surgeries, we stay at the hospital for a few days to a week.  For VEPTR expansions, we usually go home the same day unless the entire VEPTR is changed.  If that's the case, we usually only stay overnight.
Recovery Time: There is a pretty significant difference in our recovery times.  For Maliyah, it only takes about a week to a week and a half, even with a larger surgery.  For Kendra, feeling fully better can take anywhere between three weeks to a couple months.  This, of course, is because we are different people with unique preferences and pain tolerance.
Recovery Quality: Again, our experiences differ when it comes to how difficult surgery and recovery is for us.  For Maliyah, it has become easier as time has gone on.  For Kendra, the repetition and long recoveries have been difficult.  When she was little, just two weeks after separation she was jumping on the bed, but now it isn't easy just to get out of bed two weeks after surgery.

Maliyah After Surgery
We hope this post helped you understand more about our experiences and what frequent surgery is like.  If you or a family member happens to be going into a surgery within the next few weeks, don't worry too much!  It definitely isn't easy, and recovery can be gradual, but it is absolutely possible.  Ask any questions we missed by commenting here or on Facebook. 
Watch out tomorrow for a video featuring Kendra, pastry chef to be, decorating a cake!
Thanks for Reading,
Kendra & Maliyah
~The Herrin Twins~

Monday, March 12, 2018

Disneyland Magic!

We haven't been on a family vacation in over two years.  But this past week, we had the chance to visit Disneyland!

Dad, Courtney, Kendra, Austin, Justin, and Ezra went in the car all the way to California, while Maliyah and Mom flew down after dialysis last Friday morning.  Saturday, when we had recovered from our trip there, we visited the nearest mall and ate at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Austin ate ghost pepper hot sauce while we were there!

Walt Disney's Star
The next day, we went to Los Angeles and visited Griffith's observatory.  There, we took pictures and looked through a truly enormous telescope.  Later in the afternoon, we walked on Sunset Boulevard and saw Walt Disney's star.  Since the Oscars were going on that day, the rest of the street was closed.  On our way back, we stopped to see the Menendez brothers' house, which is the spooky site of a murder in the 1980s. 
On Monday, Maliyah had to go to dialysis in the morning.  While she did that, everybody had the chance to swim in the pool.  Later that day, we all got ready for Disneyland by visiting downtown Disney and getting Mickey ears and t-shirts.  Later that night, we went to the pool with Ezra.  It was his first time in a pool, and he absolutely loved it!
Maliyah Ready for Disney!
Kendra with Minnie Ears!
On Tuesday, we arrived in Disneyland.  That day was full of bad luck, but was still fun.  On the bright side, we rode all of the rides and stuffed ourselves with food.  Maliyah's favorite ride from the whole trip was Monsters, Inc. in Disneyland.  Mixed in with the happiness of the day, though, were a few rough spots.  When we went on the Indiana Jones ride in the morning, the bouncing and bumpiness of the ride led Maliyah to bruise her chin and bump her chest.  As we were walking out of the park later, Maliyah ran over Courtney's foot with her scooter and it wouldn't stop bleeding.  When we finally got Courtney and everybody else to the car, it wouldn't start and park security had to jump it.  We found out later we need an entirely new battery.
Ezra bonding with Sulley
When we tried to start the car the next day, the radiator started to steam, but luckily we made it to Disney California Adventure.  Kendra's favorite ride was Radiator Spring Racers.  We went with Justin and Ezra to meet Sulley from Monsters, Inc. while everybody else was waiting for a ride we didn't want to go on.  Ezra loved Sulley's fluffy, soft fur.
Maliyah, Justin, and Ezra with Sulley
Thursday, we swam all day and had pizza for dinner.  We visited a small island on Friday, got ice cream, and walked along the beach.  Saturday, we went to the mall and got some souvenirs for a few of our relatives.  We also spent some time just browsing through stores.  On Sunday, we all squeezed into the car for the long drive home.
Even though we didn't have any videos or blog posts this past week, be sure to look out for a new video on Wednesday on our channel and a new blog post next week!  Feel free to ask us any questions or leave comments below.
Thanks for all your support,
Kendra & Maliyah
~The Herrin Twins~