Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We are not done.

Owen's stent removal surgery was on Friday. We expected to be done as far as urology surgeries after that. We are not done. I don't have all of the info about the next steps, but here is what I do know.

Dr. Gazak did a cystoscope to see what was going on in Owen's urinary tract. He removed the stents and then did a VCUG (voiding study). One side looked good and voided properly. The other side collected urine in the still large upper part of the ureter and did not void properly. As Dr. Gazak said when he entered the conference room to talk to us after the sugery "It isn't good." He was upset, we were upset. I cried because we were supposed to be done and we are not done. Dr. Gazak had to put the stent back in on the "bad" side. There are evidently a number of options at this juncture. Dr. Gazak said that he plans to proceed conservitavely. He mentioned a few options, but frankly Wes and I were just too shocked and devestated to ask a lot of questions. All I could think to ask him through my tears was, "Do you promise that you can somehow fix this?" Perhaps this was a totally inappropriate thing to ask of him, to ask him to make such a promise. He did however look at me and make the promise. He hugged me and promised me that he would fix it. I know he means it. I know he would not have promised me something that he could not deliver, not with Owen.

What we do know is that Owen is still better off than he was when he was 5 weeks old and first got sick. Dr. Gazak didn't do anything wrong, Owen's ureter just needs more. I just don't happen to know what the more is right now. I do know that Owen is still a happy, healthy Little Man. I know that I am sad, I wanted to be done. We are not done, but somehow or another it will be ok. Owen will continue to fight, we will continue to fight with him, and Dr. Gazak will do his part and keep his promise to fix my son.

Owen will be having a renal pelvic ultrasound and we will learn more about the more next Wednesday.

In other news I am actually in the hospital right now. To make a long story short I have a very bad kidney infection that has failed to respond to two seperate antibiotics. I had another follow-up with my urologist today. The infection has gotten worse and I feel worse. He told me I had officially failed outpatient treatment and had to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. I hate it and this is the last place I want to be, but I do need to consider the safety of my kidney.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wonderful Friends

I have a group of wonderful Mommy friends that I have had the pleasure of knowing since we were all pregnant with our children who are Carter's age. Their support has always been extremely important to me. We have helped each other through a lot of Mommy stuff. It is wonderful to have people that are going through the same or similar things that you are and to be able to talk about it. There have been so many times in the past 4+ years that I have wondered what I would do without them.

The kindness of these women has always been obvious to me. However, just last week I was blown away by just how kind and loving they are. 12 of my friends collaborated to give my family an extremely generous gift. In a box delivered by the postman we found toys for each of the boys (which they were thrilled by) a gift card for Wes and I with instructions to use it to order dinners in and enjoy our family as times have been so difficult lately, and a card addressed to me saying that something was on the way that would provide "Me time". I was touched, Wes was touched, I cried. I called my friend Jenn, the sender of the package to thank her. It was at this point that she told me to check my email for the "Me time" gift. Sure enough within 10 minutes I had in my inbox a gift certificate to a local spa. I will be having a hot stone massage.

I am so thankful to this group of women for always being there for me, always listening and offering advice and for being great friends in general. I don't think I could ever thank them enough. I love them all!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Volume 2

While we were in the hospital with Owen, my mom was driving with Carter. They passed a party store that had a huge blow up pumpkin on the roof. Carter was quite fond of this pumpkin and pointed it out excitedly each time we drove past it.
C: Grandma, look at the big pumpkin.
Grandma: That is a big pumpkin.
C: Am I going to be stuck with YOU for Halloween?
Grandma: Why are you not having fun with me buddy?
C: Yeah, I am.

Again while driving with Grandma while we were in the hospital with Owen.
Passing a field with grazing cows.
C: Grandma, the farmers need to come and get all of the milk out of those cows' gutters!

Yesterday while eating blueberry muffins for breakfast.
C: Mama, I have a really good sense of taste!

Tonight at dinner as Wes was telling me about a dumb man show that he was watching the other night.
C: (in a calm, but stern voice as if he were reprimanding a child) Daddy, I understand that you are very excited, but you need to give everyone a chance to talk. I need to sing a song.

The kid totally cracks me up.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Photo Update

Here are a few (ok a lot) of the photos that I have not had a chance to post lately. All the way from our trip to the farm and pumpkin patch, to Owen's surgery and then Halloween. Enjoy!

Carter's first pony ride.
Owen hanging out.
Carter eating lunch at the farm.
Owen resting on the hayride.
Carter finally picked one.
Owen likes this one.
Carter really pondering the choice at hand.
Boys in the pumpkin patch.
Carter picking up a big one.
O checking out the pumpkins.
The great pumpkin search.
Owen in the pumpkin patch.
Carter feeding a peacock.
Mama and the boys at the farm.
Carter and Daddy looking at the baby pigs.
Carter and Owen at the farm.
Carter feeding the animals.
Carter and Daddy at the farm.
Carter batting
Grandma reading to Owen,
Owen reaching for Grandma's hand under the door.
Carter and Mama watching the Steelers game
Carter all ready for his sleepover with Grandma and Pappy.
Hungry and tired boy before surgery.
Owen drinking Pedialyte in the hospital after surgery October 19
Owen sleeping in the hospital October 21
Daddy holding Owen October 22
Owen laying with Mama October 22
Owen playing with Mama's phone.
Owen double-fisting Pedialyte
Grandma visiting Owen in the hospital.
O sitting with Mama playing with Daddy's Powerade bottle.
Owen trying to escape and explore. October 23
O and his balloons October 23
O eating graham crackers with Daddy- October 23
Possibly the cutest and saddest photo ever.
Owen in his crib October 24
Owen laying with Aunt A - October 24

Owen hidden by balloons in the hospital October 25
Carter the Cowboy on Halloween
Daddy and his Baby Bee on Halloween

Unhappy Baby Bee

Swine Flu Mama

Carter and Pappy at Trunk or Treat

Belated Update- Ups and Downs

I have been meaning to update since we were released from the hospital on Sunday (last Sunday, not today) with Owen. Since my last update he has had a lot of ups and downs, hence my reluctance and lack of time to post. I think I'll do a bullet-point update. Otherwise this post would be long enough to be published as a novel. I'm also a little foggy on the timeline of much of what has gone on. Here goes:

- Owen's was made NPO (nothing by mouth) because of his extremely distended abdomen. His belly felt as hard as that of a woman in her 7th month of pregnancy.

- Owen was taken for an abdominal x-ray to make sure the distended abdomen was merely a result of built up gas and extremely slow bowels. I was very nervous that it was something more serious, but alas the Little Man was full of gas.

- Owen's pulse-ox level crashed and went down to 75 at one point. He was also having really funky sounding breathing and seamed to be in respiratory distress. Three nurses including a PICU nurse came to listen to him, and eventually respiratory was called. They thought his lungs sounded clear, it sounded more upper-respiratory. The still ordered an epi breathing treatment PRN. Dr. Gazak was called and decided he would feel most comfortable having one of the pediatric intensivists on the floor come examine him. Dr. Pat came in and ordered a steroid to help with the post-surgery swelling in his breathing tube due to being intubated. She also ordered a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. He sounded really croupy and it was very worrisome. We were able to avoid the epi treatment, the steroid helped and the x-ray was negative for pneumonia. The result was watch and wait. And when I mean watch, I was obsessed with watching his pulse-ox and listening to his breathing.


-Owen's pain was just not under control. He was receiving IV doses of Morphine every 3 hours. At about the 2 hour 15 minute mark he would start shaking in pain. Not good. Dr. Gazak decided that since his epidural was still in to administer numbing medicine, it would be a good idea to switch his pain control to Phentynal through his epidural. That helped A LOT.

-Owen finally slept a bit more comfortably. This is of course besides the nurses and techs constantly coming in to administer antibiotics and check his vitals. I finally started forbidding the techs from waking him to take his temperature.


-Owen is still NPO. I hate it. It is so awful not being able to feed him. He just looks so sad and pitiful laying in his crib.

-Owen's cough was persisting and he had spiked a fever of about 102. He was swabbed for the flu, which turned out to be negative. Of course we were informed that the test was only 56% accurate. What?!? He was put on droplet precaution just in case. Any nurse that came into the room was to suit up in a plastic gown, gloves and a face mask. Some did and some didn't. Since he was on two very strong antibiotics the doctors said he most likely had some other sort of viral infection. Again, watch and wait.

-Late in the day Owen was given the go ahead to start drinking clear liquids. He started drinking Pedialyte and luckily kept it down. After the first 2 bottles (2 oz. each) he didn't have much interest, probably because he was receiving so much fluid through his IV. They turned the drip down to see if they couldn't make him feel more hungry and thirsty.

-Owen was taken off of his strong antibiotic and switched to his normal prophylactic medicine PO, only he had to take it twice a day instead of once.

-Owen chowed down on some yogurt, one of his favorite foods. It was so good to see him eat.


-In the morning an anesthesiologist came to remove his epidural. I was super anxious because he had been doing so well with the pain medication through the epidural. On the other hand, they do not send babies home with needles in their backs, so it was a step in the right direction.

-Owen had a rough time with withdrawal from the Phentynal and the switch to oral pain medicine.

-Owen slept better than he had. At one point he slept through a scheduled dose of Loritab and the nurse didn't bring it for him. When he woke up he was in agony. That was when we decided he was to receive a dose every 4 hours no matter what until his pain was under control. It was important to get him over the hump.

Friday and Saturday were pretty much more of the same, with progress here and there. Owen was a bit more active, and his eating and drinking began to pick up. It was still not at a normal level, but that was to be expected. We were hopeful that we would be released on Saturday. When Dr. Gazak came to see us he was very pleased with how Owen was doing, but still not comfortable sending him home. He wanted to be cautious and make sure he was ready. He wanted another day to make sure no further complications crept up. He wanted him to be closer to his normal eating and drinking routine. Of course Wes and I want what is best for Owen and fully trust Dr. Gazak, but on the other hand we really wanted to go home. The four walls of that hospital room were really starting to close in on us. We missed Carter and we really were just crushed.


-Dr. Gazak came to see Owen after church, sending everyones' best for him. He also authorized discharge! We left the hospital around 12:30.

-We came home and got to see Carter. It was so great to see to see him. We all missed each other so much. Unfortunately he had come down with something, fever cough etc.

-Owen was thrilled to be home and wasted no time showing everyone how he could run around and play. He was especially happy to see his big brother. He also tired quickly and we had a hard time getting him to take it easy.


-I took Carter to the pediatrician. He was swabbed for the flu, which was negative. The doctor thought he had what is called parainfluenza. It is basically a flu-like virus with muted symptoms and the fever isn't as high. I was glad it wasn't the flu, but not so glad that my Big Guy couldn't be given anything to make him feel better. Motrin and cough medicine became our best friends. Carter however did not want to befriend them, especially the cough medicine. That stuff does taste pretty nasty.

The rest of the week:

-Each day was a battle to get both boys to drink. Carter came around more quickly than Owen did. I can't tell you how many times I was on the phone with the Judy talking to her about how many wet diapers Owen had. That woman is a saint, though she is probably getting tired of constantly having to talk this crazy lady out of losing her mind.


-Owen had his super pubic tube removed in Dr. Gazak's office. I will spare you the details of how that was done. It was gross and I had to look away at the end. Right before Dr. Gazak went to take it out he warned us that it might not come out if the dissolvable stitch that held it in his bladder had not dissolved, it would not come out and we would have to come back on Friday. Thankfully that didn't happen. I was thrilled to get that thing out. No more double diapering, and another step in the right direction. Owen wasn't so happy about it first because obviously it hurt. He was left with a hole where the tube was, just below his belly button where his vesicostomy had been. Dr. Gazak said it would close on its own since the bladder is a muscle and would atrophy to close the hole. This was another time that I found myself looking at him saying "whatever you say". Sure enough the whole that was about the size of a pen had shrunk to half the size by the next morning.

-About 2 hours after the tube removal Owen spiked a 102 degree fever. I was very concerned. Wes hypothesized that it was from having the tube removed; his body's reaction from having a foreign body removed. I was hopeful that he was right.


-Owen was extremely lethargic and out of sorts. After calling Judy to ask her about the probability of developing a fever after having a super pubic tube removed (very likely) and being told that getting a urine sample wouldn't be a bad idea, I took Owen to the pediatrician. She did a thorough physical exam and couldn't find anything really wrong. She took a urine sample (luckily not having to cath him) by just pushing on his belly. He actually peed on her, I was so proud! She also decided to change his antibiotic to a stronger one used to treat UTIs in case he did have one. I of course made her call Dr. Gazak and make sure he was ok with it. After all he is the go to guy for all things urinary. He agreed.

I got a call later in the day saying that his urine sample was positive for a UTI. I was crushed, worried, overwhelmed. My first thought was, "oh no what if this means the surgery didn't work." Like the crazy woman that I am, I called Judy to tell her and ask if we should be worried that the surgery didn't work. She said it is not at all uncommon to develop a UTI after the type of surgery Owen had. Also, he still has the stints in place, so as she said he still has a highway for infection. She said the switch to the new antibiotic was a good proactive step. She was going to talk to Dr. Gazak and see if there was anything else he wanted to do and call me back only if there were any changes. No call back! Also no more fevers. They sent the culture off for growth. We should know more on Monday about the type of infection and if the antibiotic that they have him on is going to work. It does seem to be doing its job (knock on wood).


-Owen is eating and drinking much better. We have been able to cut back the dosage of his pain medicine and even switch to Motrin for some of the doses. He is still recovering and having some pain, but is doing a lot better.

-Carter is feeling a lot better. No more fever, and hardly coughing at all. Now he is just a cooped up almost-four-year-old trying to drive Mama and Daddy up the wall.

-I went to Urgent Care yesterday after taking a turn for the worse. High fever, cough, congestion, extreme aches and exhaustion. You guessed it, I have the swine flu. Really? Just what I need. Oink! I am on Tamiflu. I still feel wretched. I am supposed to stay 6 feet away from the kids. It is especially worrisome if Owen would get it, he has had enough complications. Also, we are pretty sure Carter already had it when he had the flu in April. Still, I have a really cute pig flu mask. Wes has been wonderful taking care of the kids and making sure I get my rest. Thank you husband!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Morning-After-Surgery Update

I should be sleeping. As you can tell I am not, because I can't. Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. Top 10 for sure. I would say Top 5, but Owen has had 5 surgeries and it would be difficult to narrow it down to 5. Doesn't matter, yesterday was hard. It was hard because I had to wait knowing that my baby was in surgery, it was hard because the surgery took longer than expected (5 hours), it was hard because Owen's experience in the PACU (Patient Acute Care Unit, or Recovery) was not so good, it was hard because I have to see my Little Man hurt so badly. It was hard because I hate hospitals, I hate blood, I hate "gross" things. Owen has some gross things going on. It was hard because he is my baby and I don't want him to hurt or have gross things.

Owen came out of surgery at about 12:30. We spoke with Dr. Gazak in one of the conference rooms and he told us that it went well, but was a lot of work. As in, he had to do a lot to make Owen's urinary tract work the way it should. He made an incision between his ostomies (so like a smile across his belly under his belly button and just above his pubic bone). He took down his ureters from the ostomies and reimplanted them into his bladder. He had to reimplant them a little differently than "normal", in more of a straight line to the point of entry than the natural curve a ureter would take. There are a lot of reasons for this that I won't bore you with. He had to create valves from Owen's ureters to his bladder to prevent urine from refluxing from his bladder back up into his ureters and eventually into his kidneys. That is what got us into this mess in the first place, Owen was born without these valves. He took out the left ureter stump (the part that was left attached to the bladder when the ureters were disconnected 10 months ago) and used the (huge) right ureter stump to augment Owen's bladder. He also had to place a super pubic tube to drain Owen's urine while his bladder heals. I will spare you the details of what that means. It is one of the gross things. If you don't mind gross things feel free to ask me about it or Google it. That will stay in for about 7-10 days and will be removed in Dr. Gazak's office. He put that in through the site where Owen's vesicostomy was. Remember that was what his first surgery was, a vesicosotomy to relieve the pressure of the reflux, which didn't work as well as it needed too. He also placed stints which will be removed in 3-4 weeks during a short out-patient surgery. Did you get all that?

Recovery was awful. To put it mildly, Owen was ticked off. He was hurting, confused, disoriented etc. He was wailing. He also spiked a very high fever that was of concern to the nurses, who paged the anesthesiologist, who went into Dr. Gazak's OR and asked him what to do. He ordered a blood culture and a urine culture. We should have the results of those later today. Dr. Gazak came to talk to us (still in recovery) after his second surgery. He said he wasn't too concerned about the fever. First of all it is not uncommon in babies after such a long surgery. Second of all, he took down his ureters which were previously exposed at the skin, therefore bound to harbor some bacteria. Also, Owen is on two strong antibiotics which should fight off any infection. It was scary at first, but Dr. Gazak calmed us down. Not too long after that Owen's fever went down and we were taken up to our room on the Pediatric Unit. Dr. Gazak even came back to see us around 7 after his office hours. (I love him, you know that right?) He thought all was looking pretty good.

Last night was difficult. At about 1 am Owen started having very bad gas that was obviously making him very uncomfortable and was very painful to pass. At 4, not even a minute after receiving a dose of Loritab (pain medicine), therefore losing the medicine. As a result he was in pain and very restless for the remainder of the night. They also had to come draw blood around 4:30, which is always awful. Needless to say Wes and I did not get nearly enough sleep.

This morning Dr. Gazak's nurse Judy came to check on Owen while Dr. Gazak was in surgery. She thought his incision and super pubic tube looked good, but was not happy with his level of pain. She also said that his belly felt full and hard, probably full of gas. They gave him a dose of Morphine at about 8:30 and he has been resting comfortably since then, with the exception of when one of the anesthesiologists came to check his epidural. Hey people, I know you are trying to do your job and all but could you be a little bit more compassionate? And please stop waking my sleeping baby who is in a great deal of pain! Anyway, the epidural is working fine, it is just that it only really covers the pain of the incision not the internal pain from spasms etc. He is on an anti-spasmatic medication to minimize that.

I guess that is about all for now. Thank you all again for caring, thinking about and praying for Owen and our family.

My update from yesterday, in one post.

This morning we left the house at about 4:40, heading to the hospital for Owen's surgery. Luckily Little Man was able to go back to sleep in the car. We got to the hospital, checked in on the pediatric floor and were quickly taken to our room. A tech came in to take Owen's vitals as well as his height and weight. By this point Little Man was downright ticked off. Poor thing was hungry, tired and did not want anyone bothering him.

We were taken to pre-op holding a little after 6:15The anesthesiologist came in and spoke to us, asked all of the normal questions, explained the anesthesia (which we are all too familiar with) and told us about the epidural he was going to place for pain management. It will stay in for a few days and will mainly help control incision pain. He may need other pain medication also.

Several nurses came in and asked the same questions. Better safe than sorry. At about 6:55 a nurse arrived with Little Man's happy juice (versed). I was happy to see him more relaxed. He quickly forgot about his hunger and we were able to snuggle him for about 15 minutes before they took him back to the OR.

Dr. Gazak came in, gave me a hug and was prepared to discuss the surgery and answer the questions that he knew I would have. He mostly repeated what we had discussed in his office a few months ago. There were a few surprises, well things I did not know I should say. I had hoped he would be able to go in through the existing ostomy incisions, but he is going to have to make a new incision. The other big shock, which I will not be clear about until I see it, is that he will have a port for drainage for about a week. The purpose of this is that after what Owen's urinary tract has been through, normal voiding will be foreign to his body. It along with the stents that will be placed will ensure that he completely voids. In other words, the boy will have no choice but to pee.

We received word at 7:41 that surgery had started. We have also received 3 calls from the OR since letting us know that surgery continues to go well. Wes and I are sitting, waiting, praying and trying to keep worry to a minimum by keeping our minds occupied. (Hence my blogging).

I want to thank everyone who have been so supportive of us and offered prayer and positive thoughts for Owen and our family.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ok so apparently texting a long blog post actually results in a million posts. Will have to fix that later.
I am testing the text-to-blog function.

Monday, October 12, 2009

T Minus One Week

Next week at this time, Owen's bladder surgery will be over. (Knocking on wood because any more postponing and I am going to lose it.) I can make it another week right? At some points during the day I really am not so sure. I am having a terribly difficult time right now. There is just so much worry, I have to work hard to occupy my mind, distract myself and think positively. There are just so many what-ifs, and if you know me you know that I am really good at getting caught up in what-ifs. You would think I would have learned by now that it really is not helpful.

Today was a particularly hard day. Owen's surgery was supposed to be today. If things had gone as planned, we would be in the hospital right now on the path to learning our new "normal". However, if things had gone as planned, we would be in the hospital right now with a little boy who just had very major surgery and whose doctor would be leaving to go out of town before said boy was even released from the hospital. This is what is best for Owen, and for that reason I will make it one more week.

Today was difficult for another reason. One year ago today Owen had his very first surgery. After a 10 day course of very strong antibiotics to knock out his near fatal infection, he had his vesicostomy. It was the scariest day of my life, exept perhaps the day he crashed and was rushed to the hospital. Either way, it makes the top 2. Looking back, as terrible as it was and as hard as this past year has been, on this day last year Owen was given a chance. He was given the chance to thrive and become the wonderful little boy that his is today. He was given the chance to have 2 healthy kidneys with minimal scarring and normal function. On this day last year Owen showed us what a fighter he is and he hasn't stopped since. He is my little tiger. I've said it before, I don't want him to have to fight and I hate watching him fight, but I am so happy that he did and continues to fight. I know he will do the same this time around, and we will be right there with him.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pre-op Appointment

On Tuesday Owen had his pre-op appointment with the anesthesiologist at the hospital. He has never had to do this before, but after the respiratory issues he had following his cleft lip repair, we thought it necessary to discuss his surgery with an anesthesiologist. This is also the longest surgery, so obviously he will be asleep for longer than he ever has been. Basically what we learned is that they don't know why he reacted the way he did following the last surgery. The only light he was able to shed on the situation was that perhaps his trachea was particularly irritated because whenever someone has facial surgery or surgery on your neck the intubation tube gets moved around a lot as the surgeon works in that area. The other possibility is that the nerve block shots that Owen was given in his face to help with post-surgical pain could have made it difficult for him to feel that he needed to swallow. The build up of saliva would make it harder to breathe. We are hoping not to have any issues with anesthesia this time around.

Owen will most likely be having an epidural placed to minimize post-surgical pain. For his past 3 urology surgeries he has had coddle blocks, but may need something more substantial for pain since this is a much more extensive surgery.

The anesthesiologist also ordered pre-op bloodwork. Fabulous, since watching blood being taken from your one year old is excruciating. At least the nurses in the lab at the hospital downtown were good. Extremely good. Unfortunately they probably have a lot of peds blood draws. I called Dr. Gazak's office later that afternoon to get the results, but the nurse wasn't in. I didn't hear anything from Judy, who is usually great about things like that so I figured all was well. Then last evening I got a call from her saying that Owen's white blood cell count was a little bit low. I freaked out. All of the reasons that I could think of that I have heard of low white blood cell count came flooding to mind and I was terrified. I asked her how low? Are they dangerously low? She said that now, they are just a little low and that Dr. Gazak thinks that it is because of the long term (a year) daily antibiotic treatment that Owen has received to prevent kidney infection. Without getting into too much detail, the particular antibiotic that he has been on has two components, one of which when used for a long period of time can lower the white count. The solution? Today Owen started a new antibiotic that does not have that component in it. That should fix the problem and all should be well. Am I convinced? No, I am extremely worried. However, I also trust Dr. Gazak and know if there was even the slightest concern that something more serious could be wrong with Owen he would have had us at the hospital performing every test in the book. He says this is the problem and gave us a solution, so I am trying as hard as I can to quell my worries.

Happy Birthday Wes!

I didn't have a chance to blog yesterday, which was my wonderful husband's birthday. I wanted to wish him a belated happy birthday. He had a nice day with a presents and cards from the boys and I, a birthday lunch at work, well wishes from friends and family and then dinner out at a restaurant that we really like.

I really hope your day was special, Wes. You certainly deserve it. I love you!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Change in plans.

I have been wanting to blog about this for several days. I couldn't. I don't know if I can now. I expect this to be a mostly factual post. Most people can't understand the emotion I feel about this change in plans and the reasoning.

Owen was supposed to have his bladder reconstruction/ureter reimplantation surgery on October 12. I got a call on Monday from Judy, telling me that it has been pushed back to October 19. I immediately started to sob. I was in Kohl's of all places and sat right down on the floor in the bedding section and sobbed. Luckily my mom and my friend Andie were there to peel me from the floor and take me to the car.

Reason for the change: his surgeon, everyone's favorite urologist, Dr. Gazak will be away at a conference Wednesday through Friday of next week. Last Friday he and his nurse Judy were reviewing his schedule. She said to him, "Oh, Dr. Gazak, you have Owen's reconstruction that Monday before you leave." They discussed it, they mulled it over, apparently he didn't know what to do. He called Judy Sunday night at home and said, "I can't do it. You are going to have to call them (us) and tell them I can't do it. I can't operate on Owen and then leave town. I have to close of a personal relationship with this family. I can't do Owen and then leave."

So I cried in Kohl's for several reasons:

1. As soon as "Dr. Gazak" showed up on my cell phone I knew something was up. I don't get social calls from his office.

2. It was touching to me that he cares enough that he would not just perform a major operation on my son and then leave town. It spoke volumes about his commitment to Owen, to our family. It proved to me that all of the things I thought were there in the relationship really are there. I'm not nutty, he cares about Owen. The relationship I thought we had is real. It spoke volumes about what a wonderful doctor he is, which I already knew. I didn't think it was possible, but my trust in him has increased exponentially.

3. It is impossible to prepare yourself to ever send your child into surgery. Trust me, this will be my 6th time doing it. (Once with Carter, this will be the 5th time with Owen) It NEVER gets easier. Owen's first 3 surgeries were emergent. We didn't get to pick a date in the future. We didn't wait for the next opening, it needed to be done ASAP. His lip surgery was not that way, it was the first time I got a call saying, "Mrs. B does this date work for you for your son's surgery?" Um, no. No date works for me for my son's surgery. I don't want my son to have surgery. Yeah, I get it he has to. We didn't have a choice. The surgeries saved his life. Still, I don't want him to have to go through it and I hate watching him go through it more than anything. He has to go through it again. I will be there for him, I will so what is best for him. What is best for him is for the surgery to be moved to the 19th. Still, as prepared as it is possible for me to be, I was prepared for the surgery on the 12th. I know it is just a date. I know it wouldn't have been any easier on the 12th than it will be on the 19th. It is just the change. I'm not having an easy time with the change.

4. I cry. A lot.

Owen's will now be having his bladder reconstruction/ureter reinsertion on October 19 at 7 am. It is major surgery, the most major that he has had. There is just so much, too much to convey. He will get through it, we all will. It is going to be hard, but no harder than it would have been on the 12th. Now to just get to the 19th, and get past the 19th.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

One year ago today.

I am one of those people who remembers dates, phone numbers, addresses and to be honest just a ton of other information. Don't get me wrong, I am not good at math. This skill never served me in a history class when asked to recall important things that happened and on what date. It is more like if it was important to me or someone that I love, I'll remember it. No photographic memory here, I'm just a weirdo.

That being said, one year ago today our lives changed forever. Owen was born seemingly healthy with a very minor cleft lip on August 27, 2008. He and I were discharged from the hospital 2 days after his birth, just like normal. We brought home a healthy baby boy, or so it seemed. As time passed he showed symptoms that mimicked those of GERD. I thought he looked jaundiced. We were given a prescription to reduce the acid in his stomach and I was told that he wasn't jaundiced, "that is just the way newborns look." It was 37 days later after his birth that we realized something was terribly wrong. Most of you know the story. For that reason and the fact that I don't have the time or emotional energy to tell the whole story. The short version is that the illness that Owen had all along (Grade 5 Bladder Reflux) gave him a terrible kidney infection. He crashed, went septic, had to be rushed first to the ER and then downtown to the PICU at Hemby Children's Hospital, and we came very close to losing him. This day last year was one of the very worst days of my life. This year I have a healtly boy with health issues and physical disabilities. This year, today I have a little boy who is happy. A boy who still has a long road ahead of him, but he is here and we are blessed. I truly do feel blessed today. I thank God for Owen, and my family in general. On the other hand I feel very emotional and have lots of anxiety to go along with the memories of this day one year ago.

Owen, thank you for fighting. Continue to fight, continue to give me signs, and know that I along with your Daddy and big brother will be always be here to fight along with you. We love you so very much!

Friday, October 2, 2009


As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I am always aware of Breast Cancer and how devistating the effects can be. This is because my mom is a Breast Cancer survivor. This year is her 9th year cancer free after enduring a mastecotomy and reconstruction. She is an amazingly strong, wonderful and corageous woman who means the world to me.

These days I believe one would be hard pressed to find a person who has not been effected by this terrible disease. In 2009 alone there have so far been 192,370 new cases of Breast Cancer diagnosed in women and 1,910 new cases in men. Yes, men can get breast cancer too. My grandfather-in-law is also a survivor.

My point, and I do have one, is that this disease is prevelant and devestating. It is also detectable. Go to your yearly doctor appointments. Have yearly mammograms. Do self exams monthly. Spread the word. I think it is great that we have an entire month dedicated to awareness for this disease. I also believe that it is something to be constantly awareness and congnicent of.

Below are a few sites that are useful for information, donation, etc. (this site offers an awesome feature. Just by clicking a button daily you can help fund mammograms for women who cannot afford them. It costs you nothing!)

Anniversary trip to Charleston

Wes and I celebrated our 5 year Wedding Anniversary on September 18. The weekend after our actual anniversary we were lucky enough to get to take a trip to Charleston, SC to celebrate our anniversary with a vacation! My mom watched the boys, for which we are extremely grateful. This was the first time Wes and I have been away just the two of us since I was pregnant with Carter (4 years ago!)

We had a wonderful time. We stayed in the Historic District of Charleston. We walked, saw the sights, learned about the history of the city, ate delicious food, drank delicious wine and cocktails, and most importantly spent time together celebrating our relationship.

Guess what else? We took lots of pictures, which I have posted below.

Our beautiful hotel room.

The view from our hotel room.

The Market

Wes drinking a Guiness on the 250th anniversary of the brew.

Dinner and live music, divine!

Me enjoying some wine.

An old Charleston church.

Beautiful ironwork.

Another pretty church.

More beautiful ironwork.

Posing on the streets of Charleston.

Historic home.

Spanish moss abounds in Charleston.

Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B), where we had a lovely lunch.

Charleston Fire Station.

United States Custom House

A fire escape that I thought was cool.

Wes sitting on a bench in Marion Square.

Statue of Calhoun in Marion Square

Our hotel, the Francis Marion.

Replica of the first Civil War submarine.

Posing in front of the water.
The view looking out toward Ft. Sumter.

Wes' super delicious breakfast sandwich from the Farmer's Market.
Me and my super delicious crepe from the Farmer's Market.

We had such a wonderful trip and can't wait to go back!