Friday, October 29, 2010


Yesterday was DS #3's surgery.

We had a great build up. The other 3 boys were staying with friends and Mom and Dad were able to focus on #3. He LOVED all the attention from us and from others. He got to eat candy bar pancakes from Cafe Brazil and drink hot chocolate with whipped cream and syrup. He got ice cream and other fun treats through out the day.

We had to stop all that by midnight. We ate a late dinner.... about 9:00. And gave him some chocolate milk about 10. He fell asleep on his own, knowing that if he awoke in the night, he couldn't get anything to eat or drink. He did great!

We had to be at the "hotspital" by 6:45 a.m. We were met by one of our pastors..... I can't tell you how much easier it made things, just knowing that so many were praying for all of us and for the doctors.

Our pastor prayed with us just before we went in the back.

Vitals were taken and clothes were changed. DS #3 grinned most of the time. He was SO excited. At one point, he was offered a choice of two, hand-made blankets with a card attached. Such a comforting gesture from someone I don't even know.

About 7:30 or so, he drank some "goofy juice."

It probably took about 20 minutes to kick in, but once it did? LOL! He was so funny. We took 18 minutes of video... just talking to him while he was "under the influence." While he was waiting for the medicine to kick in (he was never fully convinced he could feel it) he got to choose a movie to watch.

His favorite part of the day, by far, was riding on the bed from one room to the other.

At 8:15, they wheeled him to the OR.... and I fought tears. I am SO thankful that I didn't see him put under. I hear it is hard, as a parent, to watch. They said he giggled all the way back.

The surgery lasted about 4-1/2 hours. We got phone call updates several times and could also see a monitor that had his name (in code) along with a symbol to show what phase of surgery he was in.

About 1:00, we were taken to the recovery room where our sweet angel was sleeping. We were truly amazed at how good the ear is already looking. We were expecting all sorts of things.... and thoroughly pleased with what we got.

We were in recovery room for..... gosh.... and hour maybe? There are chunks of time that I experienced, but not quite sure WHAT I experienced. During recovery, he got sick 1 time.... but it was only the "goofy juice" he threw up.

The bed ride to his room was not near as fun as the other 2. He did get sick again, but the same as last time... not a lot... just medicine. The nurses quickly gave him some meds for nausea.

A few times he would wake up. Smile. Talk for a minute. Cry. Fall asleep.

At some point, early evening, he did finally wake up. He was able to eat, and keep down, several crackers and juice.

We were blessed to have so many visitors. His JBQ coach came by during surgery. He brought a card made by his children. My parents came by and brought him a new DS game. His teacher came to see him. She was carrying cards made by all his classmates (those were SO fun to read, by the way), coloring books, toy dinosaurs, markers and crayons. She even brought me some love by way of Dr Pepper, chocolate bars and magazines. I heart this teacher!

We also were visited by our friends, and JBQ coordinators. They gave two new Transformers to DS #3. Mom, Dad and brothers got him a stuffed horse, some coloring books and crayons, a puzzle and a white board. This kid made out like a fat rat!!! He totally enjoyed his role as patient.

The night was restless, mainly because the accommodations were not the best for Mom. Yeah, there was a fold out bed.... much nicer than a short couch or a chair, but still.... between the "mattress," the horrible pillows, and listening for #3 to declare his need to tee-tee in a cup.... well..... I think I only got about 5 hours in 48.

This morning, #3 woke up chipper and ready for home. Right up there with a rolling bed, was the rolling chair. He really wanted to take one home. Once discharged, DH came to pick us up. I slept all the way home. DH took over in caring for the infirm as I snored in a REAL bed.

I have gotten about 3 hours more sleep since last night's stay.

Tonight, DH is taking DS #1 on a hunting trip. (No... he is not abandoning us. We talked about it and really, there is no need for so many to hover, and we HAD promised him this before the surgery was scheduled.) Also, DS #2 will be at a slumber party. So, really, it won't be much of a night with only 2 boys.

DS #3 will not be at school until Wednesday. Technically, he can return to school as early as Monday. However, he has a pain pump and a drainage tube that won't be removed until Tuesday. Tubes, pumps and 1st graders.... a dangerous combo, don't you think?

He is tender in his chest. His ear sometimes itches. The pain pump, along with Motrin, manages the discomfort quite nicely. He is so glad to be with his brothers again.

While proofing this, I realized that maybe you, the reader, don't really know what all happened during the surgery. Once he was put under, they opened up a small section below his rib cage... this is where the cartilage came from. There were 2 pieces, to my understanding, that were taken. Once out, the doctor sat and, using a template (see the previous post) sculpted the new ear.

There was an incision made and the cartilage was slipped under the skin to become his new ear. After 12 weeks, that skin will be split and the cartilage will be lifted away from the head. There will also be a skin graft.

I appreciate all the prayers of so many.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This post will have several pictures. If you have me as a friend on facebook, I will put most of the pictures up.

First, I want to thank everyone for their prayers. They mean so much to us.

This morning, DS #3 went to school as normal. But, shortly after attendance was taken, we picked him up to head to the hospital for pre-op stuff.

On the way, we stopped at Chipotle for lunch. That was great. :)

Then, on to the hospital. First, we went to the doctor, himself. He traced #3's good ear on plastic and cut it out.... the plastic reminded me of Shrinky Dink material. He will use that like a template to form the ear.

After we saw the plastic surgeon, we went to register. We were in the kids' section. It was totally cool. DS #3 had a great time while Daddy took care of the grown-up stuff.

Once registered, we went to have his vitals taken. I loved how the people talked TO my son, instead of over him. They made sure that he didn't have questions and that he knew exactly what was going on.

Finally, we went for some pictures. I'm not sure if this is for media or for the plastic surgeon to refer to (pictures of both ears were taken) or what.

Once we finished, we decided a treat was called for. Downstairs, was a fabulous bakery. DH got a Boston Creme cupcake. I got a strawberry cupcake and DS #3 got a cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream. We brought a giant M&M cookie for later.

We checked into the hotel and rested a bit. We will go eat in awhile. DS #3 can have solid food until midnight and clear liquids until about 5.

Surgery is set to begin at 8:15 a.m.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I will try to be back tomorrow..... by the weekend, for sure.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


  • Really?
  • I can't believe it has been 2 weeks since I posted.
  • I didn't mean it to take so long.
  • I have been busy.
  • No busier than normal.
  • I think I just needed time to process.
  • This whole surgery thing really has thrown a kink into how I am approaching things.
  • It shouldn't.
  • This is not a life or death thing.
  • It is 3-5 days of stuff that isn't normal.
  • But, mentally?
  • I feel beat down.
  • I'm nervous.
  • To say, "I am scared," is not true.
  • I'm not
  • I am out of sorts.
  • My thoughts are muddled.
  • Arranging for the care of the other three.
  • Notes to teachers about alternate pick-up arrangements.
  • Wondering what they will be going through.
  • Not being able to talk over their days.
  • Laundry piling up.
  • The money situation.
  • Lunches?
  • Shoot! Lunches.
  • I had forgotten that.
  • Until yesterday.
  • My boys pack a lunch.
  • Maybe we can score a PB & J from another kitchen.
  • Haircut.
  • My 3rd will have that part of his head shaved.
  • Might as well do the whole thing.
  • KNOWING that God is all over this.
  • Wanting to feel it a bit more.
  • I forgot to do something last week.
  • Understandable.
  • I guess.
  • I was "criticized" for doing so.
  • Thanks.
  • That helps. :-(
  • The lists.
  • Oh, the lists.
  • Care package for my little hospital patient.
  • Batteries for the camera.
  • Computer to journal as much as I can while this is fresh.
  • My Bible.
  • Lunches.
  • Can't forget lunches again.
  • Getting clothes to our care-providers for our other boys.
  • Don't forget the email this week.
  • Wanting somebody.... ANYBODY.... to feel what I feel.
  • Anybody?
  • Not to be mean.
  • Just to empathize.
  • I do have DH.
  • But, he is out right now.
  • He WILL be back in time.
  • He is taking extra days.
  • Thank you, God, that he has those days to take.
  • DS #3 is excited.
  • No fear there.
  • Thankfully.
  • Yes, he will get to go trick-or-treating.
  • If I have to carry him to the door.
  • Maybe Iron Man won't wear his mask one night.

Monday, October 11, 2010


How much is too much to spend on your child?

Of course, it depends on WHAT you are actually getting for your child, right?

I mean, you don't want them to expect things to be given to them without working for them. A treat, every now and then, is OK. I'm thinking about Christmas, birthdays and special occasions. For the most part, we ask the kids to save their allowance for non-necessities.

DS games are expensive. The boys buy their own... unless we get them one as a gift. I think this is a normal thing that parents do. Kids need to know the value of money. It also helps with the "I wants." They don't assume they are going to get something, every time they want it, because they know that many things are expensive.

Take the fair. Every year, we go to The Great State Fair of Texas. Every year, we spend money on rides and food. Every year, the grown ups leave cranky. Every year, the boys feel that they should have gotten more.


This year, we told the boys that we were going to watch more shows and see more exhibits. We told the kids that we (read: Daddy) would buy the food, but if they wanted to ride any Midway rides, that was their purchase.

Instead of complaining, the kids chose 2 rides each..... TWO! We were very proud of them. (For the record, the boys who earn an allowance did this, we paid for 2 rides for our youngest.) We left happy. We got to try all the foods we wanted. They boys had fun spending time with us. Daddy wasn't cranky. AND, we only spent about 1/3 of our normal amount.

Yeah, we try to set price limits. Sure, we realize it is "just money," but it is a necessary evil. If you don't really have the money, you need to determine if you really need what you are looking to buy.

All well and good, huh?

My third son is about to start surgeries on his ear.

What is a fair price?

It is purely elective.... totally cosmetic.

He has been excited about his "new ear" for a few years now. We have been looking toward this for the past 7 1/2 years.

This can help his self-esteem (maybe... he is a pretty tough little cookie) and certainly will allow him to avoid questions, awkward moments, and possible teasing in the future.

What is that worth?

For him to go into a new situation knowing he will not have to answer questions about why one of his ears doesn't look like the other. Explaining that YES, he can hear. And saying to the little kids who ask him what happened that, "This is the ear God gave me and when I'm in 1st grade, I get a new one."

When it is built up like that, do you just decide, "Nope.... it is not worth it?"

Right now, if we are not able to work out something between insurance and the doctors, hospital and anesthesiologist, we will spend, roughly $20,000 on this. one. surgery. Count the zeros..... that is twenty-THOUSAND!

When asked about the other 2 surgeries necessary to complete the process, we were told that they were "comparable to the first."


So, I ask again.... how much is too much? If this were a disease, would you not go to the ends of the earth to figure out a way to pay? Is mental health as important as physical health? Because, that is what we are facing. The mental health of my child.

Does he know? Can he, and others, understand that I will do ANYthing to help him be happy?This is not the same as a carnival ride. I don't expect him to wait until he can afford a portion of this price.

No, we are doing what we can. We have cancelled a vacation. We are tightening our purse strings. I am subbing. I will return to teaching next year.

If insurance DOES pan out, we might only have to pay about 8% of the total.... like $5,000 can qualify as "only."

If insurance does NOT pay..... well, we will cross that bridge when we get to it. We are facing a tough time, mentally.... and, very possibly, financially.

In the end, we know that our Father provides and He will make a way for us to do this.

Thank you for listening.

Monday, October 04, 2010


This year's pumpkins

The dog (notice how he sits)

Bobbing for apples

Bobbing for apples

Bobbing for apples

DS #1... Momma pushed him in when he was bobbing


Standing around the fire

DS #3 got an apple

Carving pumpkins

Cleaning out pumpkins

Painting pumpkins

More pumpkin stuff

Nice fire

"Look, Mom. I just finished painting my...... self."

Our youngest carver

DS #3 lost a tooth while eating a popcorn ball

Goin' on a hayride

Pure joy

DS #2 on the hayride

DS #1 and his best friend on the hayride

More hayride

DS #4 and some friends

Sweet family

Finished product.... do you see the owl?

So, last night (Sunday) we had a Pumpkin Carving party. It was SO. MUCH. FUN!

We had guests arrive about 4:30. We were all outside in the backyard... about 30 of us. We had Frito pies and hot dogs. Various drinks (non-alcoholic) and lots of desserts. In the fire pit, we roasted marshmallows and had s'mores.

Some kids bobbed for apples. Some played on the swing set and others on the trampoline. At one point, all the kids were involved in pumpkin carving or painting. I put down plastic so I won't have about 18,000 volunteer plants coming up next year. :)

After eating and bobbing and carving and painting, most of us jumped on a trailer and went on a hayride. It was SO fun. The kids chattered excitedly and the parents, while making sure the little ones didn't fall off the trailer, visited with the kids and with each other.

The weather was unseasonably cool. Cool enough, in fact, to need a jacket during the hayride, but mild enough to wear shorts or capris in the yard. The fire was perfect.

All in all, the night was a huge success. It was such a great way to welcome fall and to open up the holiday season.