Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Celebrations.

Sammie's pile o presents!

Cousins - Dylan and Ethan

Griffin enjoying his Christmas ;)

notice the missing tooth on top?? :)

that pretty much sums up their excitement!
both boys got their favorite snack in their stockings...pringles!  Yep.  I let them eat pringles for breakfast...don't judge me...they loved it! :)  They both are cuddling under the blankets I made them for Christmas :)

I could not get too many clear pictures, the boys were SO excited they were literally RUNNING around trying to find presents with their name on it! :)
Santa brought Sammie exactly what he asked him for.  A tool workshop!!  He was BEYOND excited ;)

this kid LOVES angry birds!

Go figure...I battled with the pre lit tree 3 times this year.  When I put it up, the top AND bottom were burnt out.  I took off all the lights on the top, what a PAIN!!  I ended up cutting them off, and nearly loosing my mind.  So the burnt out bottom part, I just left and wrapped the lights over them.  Then Christmas morning, the front bottom burnt out.  Ha!  I will not ever buy a pre-lit tree again.  I was ready to throw it in the dumpster!
 both boys loved Sammie's new yard work tools.  This kid especially loves TOOLS, and mowers, and blowers, and spin trimmers.  One day he'll be right next to daddy helping him with his business! :)

Ethan got a platypus karaoke machine for Christmas...but is still pretty embarrassed to use it when anyone is watching... 

We had a great Christmas this year.  The boys were SO excited this year.  We left food out for the reindeers and candy rather than cookies for Santa.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Two weeks later...

Well the recovery process has been pretty icky for Sam.  He requested Tylenol for the first 2 days, saying he eye hurts.  I was a little worried because the Dr. had initially told us it wouldn't hurt him as there isn't much nerve endings in the eye.  In contrary to that, I have read about adults having cryotherapy to their eye and it hurt "like hell".  So were just trying to make him as comfortable as possible.

He doesn't like the fact that his left eye is still swollen and closed.  He looks in the mirror and totally knows something is different and not right.  He looks at himself, then looks at me and says "Mommy, only one eye open, I want TWO eyes open!"

Sammie has really been a trooper through all this though.  I am just SO glad we don't have drops or anything like that.  I don't think I can stomach fighting him to put something in his eye when it looks how it does.  I tried to get some close up pictures so you can see how the white part of his eye is so swollen that's it's higher than the blue part of his eye.

It's been "draining" a yellowish liquid.  Which I guess is normal, as long as it's not green.  I just worry a little that we don't really have a follow up appointment - because her office is 4 hours away - but I don't know what it's supposed to look like, or whats "normal".  Pretty much looks like raw meat.  Is your stomach churning yet!?!?

The red mark you see above his eye brow I believe is from the tool they use to keep his eye open.  I think they maybe had it cranked open pretty hard in order to be aggressive like she said she was.  I thought it was going to be a scar, but it ended up going away.

All in all, Sammie is just a happy little guy.  He is handling this so much better than any adult would in my opinion.  It took two FULL weeks for his eye to look any better.  The swelling lasted about 10 days, but the redness in his eye was 14 days.  I was scared to take him out in fear that people would think I beat him and gave him a  black eye, so we pretty much just hung out at home.  I am just thankful he will be all better just in time for Santa!  Love you Sammer!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First Surgery.

The day had finally come!!

Although it feels like many months ago when he was initially diagnosed with Coat's Disease, it was only one month ago, almost to the day of his surgery!  To make sure he was well enough for surgery, Sam had to have a pre-op physical {which we already did before his MRI} so we just faxed that over, and luckily we didn't have to have another exam! 

Go figure the day before his surgery, he got a little bit of a cold.  I called the on call Dr. because I was not about to drive 4 hours and them tell us they wouldn't put him under!  She said as long as it was a little cold and he doesn't have a fever it should be ok!  So off we went to Minneapolis.

Our plan was to leave on Sammie's birthday in the morning, and head to the Mall of America to let the boys pick out a special toy each from Lego Land.  They had fun, but were very tired from our long car ride.  So we headed back to the hotel and ordered Olive Garden take out!  Everyone seemed happy with that! :)  We went to bed pretty early because we had to check in for surgery at 6:30 AM the next morning.  I am not sure how much any of us slept that night.  Griffin and Sammie are the only two who seemed to get any sleep! :)

Getting up at 5am with 3 kiddos....we lets just say I am glad we don't do it everyday.  Makes for a super LONG day!!  The weather was supposed to be freezing rain, so I was worried about us getting there on time and safely.  We found the Phillips Eye Institute without a problem.  We arrived a little late, but it didn't seem to make much difference.

We didn't have any issues with him asking for food until he saw the bag of snacks I had packed in my bag!!  Then he had a little fit in the waiting room until Nick got up and walked him around the hospital and when he came back he had forgotten all about it.

Sammie right away got 3 sets of drops in each eye.  That just kinda set the tone for how everything else with him was going to play out.  A little while later they called us back for his pre-op stuff.  They took us into a room with a curtain, and told us to put Sammie into some pajamas they had provided. {Next time I am going to ask if he can wear his own clothes, as this seemed to create a HUGE problem for him} 

{an unhappy Sammie wouldn't keep his pajamas on that he needed to wear.  The 2 x's on his cheeks are so the Dr. know which eye to look at.  He had BOTH eyes examined and the LEFT eye operated on}

No matter how hard we tried to calm him, he was extremely upset.  I think he might have been scared...in an unfamiliar place, having to put on unfamiliar pajamas. Needless to say, he was pretty pissed at me especially.  I felt horrible.  I wish someone would have just said "It's ok if he takes his clothes off...it's ok if he doesn't want to wear them".  We weren't told this until right before I took him back to the OR.  Would have been nice to know what 30 minutes prior to all the kicking, screaming, crying etc.


After waiting for what seemed like forever, Nick finally got him calmed down by playing fruit ninja on his phone.  Notice he still wouldn't put the clothes on.  Poor guy.  I got to carry him back to the OR...which means I got to wear the lovely bunny suit. {sorry, no pictures were taken of that!}  He once again fought the mask, but this time it smelled like cherry...which I think he liked.  Once he slowed down and started to be out of it, I put him down on the bed, and left the room so they could start surgery.

The surgery took exactly 30 minutes.  I wasn't nervous for the surgery itself...mostly nervous for the pre and post op stuff. {which really proved to be the worst}  Once our pager went off saying he was out of surgery we were instructed to go to another waiting room to talk with the Dr.

Dr. Quiram told us that the surgery went really well.  She found a lot more leaking in the eye than was initially thought.  She also discovered the retina had already began to tear away.  She said the retina was like looking at a clock, and numbers 1-4 had been torn away.  She is hopeful that after the 4 to 5 surgeries Sammie will need to have that the retina will reattach on it's own, but she wasn't for sure.  She worked on a quadrant of the leaking vessels in Sam's eye.  She said she was very aggressive with it, and will need to be aggressive for the next 2 surgeries as well to get it under control before the retina fully tears away.  She is only able to treat so many vessels at a time because it will aggravate them and might cause more leaking, which we don't want at all!

{Daddy carrying Sammie out to the car after surgery}

I knew Sam would be upset when he woke up.  What I didn't like is that they didn't page us when they woke him up.  The only reason we knew he was awake is we could hear him all the way in the waiting room SCREAMING for Daddy.  Nick went back there and I am so glad he did.  He told me a nurse actually stopped him and said "I don't think you can go in there yet", but he just breezed by and went in to see Sam.  Once Nick was in there Sam calmed immediately.  I think next time they have got to understand to not wake him up until Nick or I can be there for Sammie.  Yes, I think we might be those demanding parents that all nurses and Dr.'s don't like.....

Sam immediately said his eye hurts and was crying a lot.  They tried to give him Tylenol, but Sam gagged and just about vomited.  We ended up staying just long enough for him to finish a bottle of Cranberry juice, but he didn't want to eat.  He was still pretty out of it when we left and his eye was already pretty swollen...so swollen he couldn't open it.  Which the Dr. said to expect for the next 3-4 days.  Sam was only comforted by his Daddy.

{you can see the pain in his face, he didn't want to let go of his eye}
{massive swelling - swelled shut - on our 4.5 hour car ride home}

{all the boys enjoyed a nap on the way home....Griffin actually slept the whole way home}
Whats Next?
Sammie goes in for Surgery again on January 23rd.  Ironic, that we spent Sammie's birthday on our way to have surgery and we will spend Nick's birthday on our way to have surgery!  We are going up on Saturday this next time to be able to enjoy our time before surgery a little more, rather then being rushed!

Dr. Quiram wants to do at least 4-5 more surgeries in efforts to seal up all the leaking.  We are so hopeful that no NEW vessels start leaking over this process.  I just hope she can restore even a tiny bit of Sammie's vision.  Or at least keep it where it's at.

Sam looked in the mirror this morning, and said "Mommy?  One eye open, and one eye closed...TWO eyes open Mommy".  Brooke my heart.  Soon his eyes will both be open, and we will be going through this all over again!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Third Birthday Sammie!!

 {holding your favorite squinkee pie}

I can't believe your 3.  Seems like just yesterday the first words I spoke to you were "he's perfect".  You have grown into this shy and reserved little boy and still be strong willed.  You hide behind my leg when someone talks to you that you don't know, or put your hands in your mouth to hide your silly smile. You are absolutely adorable, and such a good big and little brother.  Often times I find you helping Griffin out, or sharing your toys with him when I haven't even asked you to.

{see how he looks at things....with his right eye only}

You LOVE LOVE LOVE to watch Toy Story, and Ponyo.  Everytime I hear the Ponyo song, it makes me want to cuddle with you on the couch and watch it with you.  You always ask Mommy to sew {mostly because I think you enjoy my company} - and always want to help me cute fabric.  I think you mostly enjoy helping Daddy use his cool tools though!  You are literally obsessed with power tools and yard tools!! :)

Right when I think you are a Mama's boy, you prove me wrong by requesting Daddy for everything. ;)  I can't believe your Three.  I don't want you to grow up!! 
Mommy and Daddy LOVE YOU SO MUCH Sammie!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Sixth Birthday Ethan!!!

 {showing off his new squinkees and his blue Gatorade lips}

How fast the last 6 years have flown!!  My little boy is six!!!  You are the best big brother I could ever ask for Sammie and Griffin.  You are SO loving and caring and gentle!  You love school and sounds like you have made some amazing friends too.  You are very strong willed and always manage to get your way...in one way or another!  You love reading and coloring and playing your games.  You are such a sweet heart!


You have made Mommy and Daddy so proud over the past 6 years!  We love the little boy you have become!  Happy Birthday Ethan, Mommy and Daddy LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our New Dr.

{on our road trip home with VERY dilated eyes}

We got a phone call from Dr. Tufty's nurse {our Dr. in SF} telling us we have an appointment in the cities at 7:30 am the next morning...when can we leave!??!  So I called the clinic asking for a later date...traveling last minutes with 3 kids is virtually impossible.  No such luck for the later date so Sam and I drove up with Grandma and Grandpa.  We were under the impression that she was going to do surgery the next day.

{playing with new trucks and diggers from Grandma and Grandpa}

We got there and met Dr. Polly Quiram who seems very knowledgeable and has performed surgery on kid's with Coat's Disease many times before.  Which was a huge relief to me.  Sam had to have his eyes dilated {again} just for a 10 second look.  But she scheduled surgery for Sam on December 12th at the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis.  So we will head out on Sam's birthday and hopefully make a trip to The Mall of America!

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