Wednesday, December 7, 2011


It has been almost 3 months since I've posted anything on my blog. So much about this blog reminds me of Abbey's leukemia so I have gone back and forth with whether or not to continue using it since we have done our best to move past that chapter in our lives. These past several weeks have been crazy though and I wanted to update about all that has happened as I know we have family and friends that know bits and pieces of what has been going on with Micah and this is a place where people know to go.

I am able to write about these past 4 weeks now since we are on this end of it. I have struggled this past month in a way that I don't know I've ever struggled in my life. Part of me shut down and wanted to crawl in a hole as what I am about to tell you unfolded. On November 8th Micah was sick. He had actually been sick for 4 days and was having on and off stomach pain and vomiting. Not a big deal for a three year old, but this was not the first time this had happened with him. He actually had many bouts of these same symptoms for the past couple years. We had taken him to the pediatrician many times in the past and even the ER on four occasions because we felt like it was really weird that he had these reoccuring stomach issues and no one else ever got the bug. At times the pain seemed so intense and those are the times that we rushed him to the ER, thinking something else was going on. Each time he was checked out by a doctor, they would say that he had a stomach virus that needed to run it's course. He even had a few xrays and ultrasounds over the years and each time they said everything looked normal. Sure enough he would always get past it, for it to come again at a later date.

It's no secret if you know me that I tend to be on the very cautious side when it comes to my kids health. Abbey's leukemia was missed for 2 weeks by our pediatrician at the time so thankfully my persistence (craziness at the time) led to her diagnosis. I have struggled since then to know if I'm over-reacting with my kids when they aren't feeling good. I have told myself in the past that nothing serious could be wrong with another one of our children since we already had a child with a huge illness. It almost excused us from health issues in the future if that makes any sense at all. Yet there were many times with Micah that I really felt like something more was wrong with him then a virus.

So back to what happened.... On November 8th he had been again having stomach pain on and off with vomiting that would come and go over those days. That night I again was feeling like I wanted to take him to the ER. Jim is definitely more on the side of wait and see, but that night he agreed that he needed to be looked at right away. I packed him in the car and off to the ER we were while Jim stayed home with the rest of the kids. The whole way there I went back and forth in my mind, feeling like I was again over-reacting and should just go home and let this pass like it did every time in the past.

To make a very long story short, after doing an xray, ultrasound and ct scan on his stomach, they saw something suspicious. They said that it was hard to see exactly what it was, but it looked like some sort of mass by his intestines. We were transported by ambulance to Cleveland Clinic downtown where more tests were done. After several hours of tests, a surgeon came in the room and told us that they needed to take Micah into surgery immediately to see exactly what was going on in there. Have you heard of exploratory surgery? That's what they needed to do on my 3 year old baby. Scary to say the least. Jim still was not at the hospital as he was home taking care of the other kids. My mom was there with Micah and I, but here I was in this room getting tons of information thrown at me and having to sign a paper to take him in to cut his stomach open to see what was going on in there. The surgeon called Jim on the phone to tell him what was going on (there was no way I could relay it all to him) and the one thing I remember from that conversation (it was on speaker phone) was Jim asking the surgeon if this was a routine surgery. The surgeon then said "no". It was all unbelievable and very scary.

Micah had been throwing up on and off all day and as they wheeled him back for surgery he was throwing up. We were told that he would be intabated and the risks with the state that he was in. They said he would be taken to the PICU overnight to be monitored after surgery. The next 4 hours were almost unbearable. I had to make myself breathe as we waited for someone to come out and tell us what was going on. It was all happening so fast and my mind was spiraling to the worst. I still can't believe I didn't just die while I waited.

After 4 hours, the nurse practitioner came out to tell us that he did very well through surgery. His vitals were rock solid and he came through with no problem. The surgeon followed her out to tell us what he found. Micah had a cyst, larger then an orange entangled in a section of his intestines. He removed the cyst and 5 inches of his intestines and re-connected his healthy intestines on each side.

It was going to be a hard recovery as he would have to heal inside and out. His belly was cut up and down and the incision was significant. When we saw Micah he looked better then I expected. He had tons of tubes coming out of him, but he didn't have to go to the PICU because of how well he did in surgery. That was huge for me because it was beyond scary to think that it was that serious that he was going to have to be in the PICU. He had an epidural for 5 days with pain medication automatically being given every hour to manage his pain. He had an NG tube, catheter, iv's, and a drainage tube coming out of his belly. We ended up being in the hospital for 9 days. He couldn't eat anything for 5 days (not even ice chips) because his bowels had to "wake up" and start working again after the surgery. They needed to know that things were moving down before they would give him anything, otherwise it would have just come up and they obviously didn't want that. He needed to pass gas or poop before they would even allow him ice chips. The first couple days he was so out of it that the food thing wasn't an issue, but as the days went on and he started feeling a little better, he was starving and begging for food. It was heartbreaking. By day 5 he started passing gas (we were celebrating and soooo excited once he started tooting and pooping!) and slowly started to eat again. They started taking some of the tubes out that same day and things started to look up.

I didn't take many pictures in the hospital. These were from day 5 when he was allowed to start eating a little and the tubes started to come out.

On day 9 we came home. He had to come home with the drainage tube (coming for the surgery site). He was still having a lot of drainage and it needed to come down before they removed it. I had to empty it in the morning and night and record what was coming out. The drainage finally did come down and after him having it in for 3 weeks it finally did come out.

He is doing well. It has been a crazy 4 weeks and I wouldn't want to go back even a minute at this point. He is on a very strict diet (10 grams of fat or less a day), which has been hard. He's hungry all the time and never seems satisfied, but he's accepting it much better then I expected him to. He is pooping normally and everything is working the way that it should be. This poor kid has been living with his bowels pulled so tight around this cyst. The doctor explained that at times the intestines would be pulled tight and when food was trying to pass through it would be extremely painful for him. Other times something would move a little and the food could pass through easier. It's so hard to think about what was being missed for so long and what he was going through. I'm sure I don't have to tell you this, but I am beyond upset that this had been missed for so long. I don't know where to go from here as far as Pediatricians, but that's a whole other story.

We have been going weekly downtown for them to do an ultrasound on his belly and they will continue to follow him to make sure everything is ok. He shouldn't have issues from this point on, but since this was a rare thing going on in there they will watch him to make sure things continue to work as they should. We are still learning new things about it each time we go and trying to understand why and how and all those questions.

Micah has been very into super heros. He has bounced back quickly from all he's been through - way quicker then Jim and I!!

We are looking forward to an uneventful Christmas. As of today, this very second, everyone is healthy. I am still trying to make sense of all of this. I do know and believe that God has a plan for our family and continue to trust whatever that is. I would by lying though if I didn't say that I'm tired and long for normalcy and good health for all of us.

Thank you for checking in on us! Everyone else here is doing well. The 9 days being away were hard for all of us, but our time since Micah and I got home from the hospital has been all the more sweeter as we've cherished being together and everyone feeling good. We decorated our house with TONS of lights and decorations this year and are more excited then ever for Christmas! I will post some pics of everyone else soon :).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's Been a While!

So to say that I've been bad at keeping up with my blog would be an understatement! Life has been passing by so quickly these days and I don't want to miss all the memorable things that have happened with our crew so as overwhelming as it seems to "catch up" on here, I'm going to try my best to share what's been going on in our lives.

Here we all are in our Eagles gear :)! Jim moved here to Cleveland for me so the least I can do is root for his home team :)! Go birds!

So here's been life here in a nutshell...

Summer was a blast for us. We had some of the best times ever this past summer. It was the first summer where we had 4 healthy kids and were able to go and do pretty much whatever we pleased. It was the first summer in years that I wasn't pregnant or breast feeding. I recently figured out that I nursed my babies a total of 6 of the last 8 years of my life! So needless to say, it has been very nice to not have a baby in me or on me - lol :). It was the first summer where we could skip naps if we wanted to (even though we regretted it sometimes by dinnertime), but we were able to go and do a lot more then I feel like we ever have in the past because of so many other circumstances. So, it goes without saying that we were busy and we made the most of our summer.

This was a summer to remember for Abbey. She learned how to ride her bike with no training wheels and swim all by herself :)! She was determined to learn to ride her bike after seeing her brother and cousins fly around on their bikes and we were so very proud of her for her determination to do it. Abbey is a cautious kid. Not usually one to try things where there is a possibility of her getting hurt. We went several days to a nearby parking lot and Jim and I took turns running with her, slowly letting her go. She is now a pro and zipping around by herself. And swimming lessons this summer did wonders for her. By the last week of summer she was jumping in the deep and swimming all over (with us still walking next to her as her safety net), but her improvement has been amazing. She was so proud of herself for these two great accomplishments in 1 summer and we too have been so proud and excited for her to take off in these areas. You would've never known this kid lived in a bubble for 2 1/2 years if you would've seen her this summer and it has done our hearts well to see her doing normal things!

Abbey's 6th birthday party was a blast! We had it at home and she invited 8 girls and we did lots of girly things. Nails, hair, sparkle tattoos, hair wraps, dancing and dress up. The girls all seemed to enjoy the day and Abbey was glowing with excitement from start to finish.

Jacob is doing great. He still loves doing little legos. We sometimes have to drag him out of his room to do other things. He is a homebody and now that school started if it was up to him we would spend all nights at home. Cub scouts just kicked off for the year with the annual rocket launch. Always a fun night watching the kids launch the rockets that they and their dads built together.

Micah is still our active little guy. He looks up to his brother so much and is always trying to keep up with the big kids. He is our little athlete. He loves anything sports. We have him in soccer for the first time this year and he is a natural little player. We are excited to watch him this fall as he is totally in his element playing sports. He will turn 4 in January and I don't think a day goes by that he doesn't ask us when his birthday party is :).

Caleb will already be 2 the end of October. It's so hard to believe how fast his little life has gone so far. He's my heart. I absolutely love this baby. He smiles each time we make eye contact with him and his white hair and chubby cheeks are one of the cutest things I've ever seen. He's a good little guy and his personality reminds me a lot of Abbey. He loves to dance and is starting to say tons of words, which has been so much fun. When he wakes up in the morning I can't wait to get in there to kiss and squeeze him. He's just a fun baby!

Jacob and Abbey are both loving school. They are doing so well so far this year. We love both of their teachers and are so pleased with how well they are both doing. This is Abbey's first school experience and she has done amazing. She loves it and has never hesitated walking into her class. I was shocked that she transitioned so well, being attached to my hip pretty much her whole life, but she was more then ready to go.

I have been doing a journal with Jacob and Abbey each night before bed and they tell me about their days and I write down their thoughts. It's a wonderful way for me to keep up with what's going on in their lives at school and also a great way for me to get one on one time with each of them every day. I love the things that have come out each night :)!

We recently went to the Geauga County Fair. We have gone the past several years and it's always a great time for us and the kids. There are tons of animals and great fair food and of course the rides to end the night.

A couple weeks ago our college friends, the Williams came for a visit from PA. We had a wonderful time catching up on life with them! Between our two families we have 7 kids! It's crazy to think back to 11 years ago in College and how much all of our lives have changed since then. Don't think we ever sat around in our dorms talking about where we'd be now :). Life is sweet for all of us and it was great to get to know their kids a little and reminisce about college :)!

K. Well that's about all I've got :)! I'll try not to wait a month to post again :)! Hope you're enjoying fall! Blessings to you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Abbey :)!

6 years ago today, we welcomed our Abbey into our lives. Never could we have imagined that her little life would change all of ours. She brings our family unending joy and she has blessed our lives so much. We love you Abbey Rae :)!!

A few pics of her opening her presents from us this morning. Her party is this Saturday and we will be sure to take lots of pics and share them soon :)!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Swimming Lessons

Abbey and Micah are both taking swimming lessons in our developments pool. It is a two week session, every weekday morning. They are 1 week into it and they are both enjoying it very much! The progress that Abbey has made in this first week has been very exciting for her and I. She is getting much more confident swimming by herself! Micah too is doing well and getting more comfortable with having his face in the water and going under. Jacob opted to sit out this year. He is a good swimmer so we didn't push it with him. I'm really excited for the day when all 4 of them are good swimmers so I can relax poolside and catch a few rays :)! We have a ways to go till then, but someday we'll be there!

Abbey jumping in the deep alone

and treading water to get back to the wall

sweet buddy

done for the day :)

He's been so proud of himself :)!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

More Summer Pics

Since I am not finding much time to post this summer, I figured I'd at least get on here to put some pictures up. Here's a handful of the things we've been up to :)...

Jacob's 8th birthday party :)

Several hikes on the paths through our development (we're loving our new home and new neighborhood!)

Fun family times
Bon fire for my birthday. Smores and this new neat creation below over the fire. Yum!

(before it was over the fire...)

(and after)

Beautiful flowers from my in-laws :)

A day at Cedar Point!

Our best bud - Jerry and the kids

The kids loving on each other :)

Life has been good! We are very much enjoying our summer! Abbey is 6 months post treatment and doing beautifully. I can almost say that life seems pretty much back to normal. God is so faithful and I feel so blessed to be where we are today. Thank you faithful followers for checking in on us. Blessings to you all :)!