Sunday, August 28, 2011

Time Passes


Tonight, as all my boys slept, I came across an old episode of Grey's Anatomy. I have never seen this show, but I couldn't help but linger on the channel, curious to know what story would be told. It told the story of a group of college seniors that come in after a horrible car crash. They were all set to graduate that day, instead many of their lives took a drastic downward swirl. Only one girl, the class Valedictorian survives. The other story is about Dr. Izzie Stevens, who had a brain tumor removed and is hospitalized. She has a hallucination, her deceased ex-fiancee, who confirms a new brain tumor to her, even though it hasn't be detected in a scan. She is desperate to attend the wedding she planned for fellow doctors Meredith & Derek, but also wants visual confirmation of the tumor for her doctors to believe her. Finally, through the use of an EEG, they are able to pinpoint which section of Izzie's brain is creating the hallucination. By taking that information, they analyze that area on her scan and finally find a metastatic melanoma (stage 4). It is inoperable and Meredith & Derek arrange it so Izzie & Alex (her on again romance) can marry. She spends her honeymoon in a hospital bed, bald, but with her love.

Wow! This hit home! But, I must reflect on many blessings I've been given.I am so thankful that I am alive. I got the chance to go to the state fair with great friends today. I wasn't sure this wouldn't happen. Last year, Zach got to go to the state fair with my sister & brother-in-law, Jaime & Kyle. It was his first state fair and I was saddened that I couldn't go. This year I got to watch him & Kadin experience the fair. I only wish they had wanted to have their faces painted & hair colored. I made a deal with Zach that if he'd foot, so would I. Bummer that he didn't take me up on this. We went with my sister & brother-in-law, Jaime & Kyle and with great friends, Ryan, Aimee & Mady.

Sunday 8/28

August 2009 - Pregnant with Kadin

August 2010 - In Recovery & Kadin's here!

August 2011 - Life, watch out, here we come!

P.s. Kadin's chin is in the attempted self portrait. I think Zach pushed him out of the picture at the last second :O) Awww, brotherly love!

Today, we went to Cuddy Park to feed the ducks, always a favorite of Zacks. We have chronological pictures of this summer activity that go two additional summers back. There is when we were still a family of 3 and I was pregnant with Kadin, then there's the one of me a few months out of the hospital with Kadin still in his infant carrier, and there's today! Unnoticeable change has happened but we still look the same. What a blessing that is. It was so fun to watch the boys cling to their Daddy as the ducks surrounded them. You could hear Zach squeal with excitement and Kadin whisper Duck, his new word, Thank You Uncle Kyle!I just needed this reminder that God blesses your life in a multitude of ways, we just have to be patient to see how their revealed.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Surgery Week

Sorry if this is confusing, but I'm going to do a running update while I'm in Oregon.... Obviously, you'll read this after the fact ;0)

Friday :

Today, we flew to Portland with the boys & Grandma in tow. I am amazed at how my big boys did traveling. Zach listened & followed instruction so well. Let's hope this is a trend as we near turning four. He befriended a preteen on the flight in our aisle and it was so neat to watch this young man engage Zach in such a caring & kind hearted way. Kadin didn't cry too much, once briefly during takeoff. He took a 25 minute power nap then was awaken by the stewardesses overhead announcement. He was ready to go from then on, unfortunately, we were only an hour into the flight. We tried to keep them busy with snacks & toys, but they wanted to move & run. We got in early, grabbed our bags, and over to the rental car place so fast. We got to our hotel in our upgraded Tahoe and somewhat unpacked before Darren went on the hunt for dinner. After dinner, everyone got ready for bed. Zach was going to do a sleepover with Grandma, but changed his mind at the final hour & crashed with us. Kadin was in a pop up crib and settled down for bed after we let some light in the room. Overall, it was a busy but productive day of travel.


We woke up early, got ready, and headed toward the outlet mall. We only visited a handful of places before the boys got restless. We headed back and then made a plan to go swimming. Zach did awesome! He pulled his brother around the pool in a floatie. He did this for over a hour while treading water. What a strong boy! He was super protective too, it took quite a bit of convincing from Dad or Grandma to let them watch Kadin. He has endurance that's for sure. All the boys worked so hard in the pool, dinner was quiet.


We headed out to the Portland Zoo this morning. What a fantastic zoo, and even better I was able to make the entire trek. I only looked worn out at the very end. How fun it was to watch the boys reactions to the animals. We also ventured into the special visitor exhibit, Dinosaurs. I think it was amazing and Zach thought it was awesome! We really enjoyed the zoo and all it's offerings. Darren and I had a chance to go on a date tonight to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary, which falls on my surgery day. It was great to get away and it made it even better to know Grandma & the boys had fun too.


Because the local weather reported that there would be rain, we went back to the outlet mall. However, it was hot & sunny! We finalized our shopping & headed back to the hotel. Every afternoon, we have tried to get Zach & Kadin to the pool. I am simply amazed! With the swimming life jacket, Zach is able to motor around the pool without a parent holding onto him every second. Kadin's swim wing/swim buddies are awesome too. Because of those, he is able to float without too much work. He is a little off balance and you've got to make sure he doesn't face plant. Because of these fabulous inventions, Zach was able to drag his brother around the pool in his floaty without much assistance. They are growing up so fast! Tonight, we had the opportunity to meet up with my cousin Jacob & his wife Tonia for dinner at the Macaroni Grill. Despite the food being fabulous & watching Kadin put it away, we had terrific company! It was so wonderful to catch up & hear about recent adventures & plans! What fabulous people Jacob & Tonia are!

Tomorrow is the big day! I better get my overnight bag ready. I am still hoping that Dr. Flint will check on me and see the vocal fold is working. We will see...


Darren dropped us off at OHSU for my appointments and then headed off for his day & a half of fun with the boys. Last night, right before bed, Zach broke down, saying he didn't want me to go to the hospital. I don't blame him, the last time I went to the hospital was when my tumor was discovered. Despite nearly dying, I stayed there for 6 weeks and he didn't want that to happen again. We talked about it and I promised to check in throughout the day so he'd know I was fine. I had a pre-op appointment and then my appointment with Dr. Flint. After scoping me, for I hope the last time, he concluded the following: my left vocal fold is still paralyzed & he'd recommend a thyroplasty, medialization of the vocal fold. But, it was up to me, the right fold was overcompensating so much that I was getting almost full closure. I discussed with him the importance of airway protection to me & we concluded surgery would be the only guarantee that this would be maintained. He again explained the procedure to me and answered my questions. I signed consent forms and headed for the tram that took us from that building up to the main hospital, can we say scary? Ahhhh! We rushed through the hospital maze to day surgery and a little while later, we were whisked away to pre-op. I was given a trendy disposable hospital gown to change into. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by Nurses, Residents, Anesthesiologists, all waiting for their opportunity to speak with me. I was asked by my head Nurse to explain to her, what I believed to be happening, so I did. She laughed out in amazement & explained shed never had someone explain their surgery so eloquently to her before. Apparently, I passed with flying colors. After the IV placement & more medical questions, I was taken back. I don't think I was in pre-op longer than 15 minutes, usually you're there for a few hours. Surgery began just before three and by 4:30, I was eating ice chips in recovery. Because of the type of surgery, I was given twilight anesthesiology, making me active in the procedure, I remember and was active in it. I had to do voice tests while Dr. Flint was doing the procedure. From recovery, I moved to a transitional unit, where those who have day surgery need a night or two to recover. I had a very nice & helpful nurse. They allowed me to get settled & order dinner "room service" from a large menu. My Mom was also able to stay until ten and my nurse gave her pillows and a blanket for the waiting room. During surgery, a drain had been installed to remove excess blood away and I heard from both day & night nurses that if you had too much discharge, you'd probably go home with it. This thought horrified me! What would the boys think? How would I protect it with my active kiddos? We will see what tomorrow holds, cause I know who holds it.


Well, I made it through another hospital night. It was so different from last time: I wasn't hooked up to anything, I was able to eat, and I got to walk to the bathroom. Some stuff stayed the same: vital checks, uncomfortable hospital bed, and no sleep.At about 8:00 am, the ENT Resident squad came through & checked on me. They removed the drain & began the process of discharging me. A surgeon in my Doctors practice came by and glanced at my neck & gave the go ahead. I got officially discharged about 10:00 am and then headed back down the hill via Tram, Darren & the boys came to pick us up & we went back to the hotel so we could have lunch, Kadin could nap, and Zach could swim. The boys made me a beautiful get well sign too! We took the evening slow, we got a scarf for me at Fred Meyers and Olive Garden to go for dinner. What a nice way to recover!


We had planned to go to OMSI today, but since OHSU had discharged me before my Doctor got down to see me, he wanted to see me before I left. So, today is the day. While I go visit the doctor for an all clear with my Mom, Darren and the boys are taking the tram up to the OHSU medical campus. Thankfully Dr. Flint didn't want to scope me again following surgery and I don't need to come back unless I have any further ENT problems. What a great doctor he is. Myda, Jana & Andrew were also awesome to work with! I highly recommend them!After my appointment, we headed back to the hotel to eat lunch. Darren jetted off to spend some time & money at the Nike Employee Store (thank you Jake)! After lunch, my Mom took Zach to the pool and I put Kadin down for a nap. I watched Rio while he slept. My second uninterrupted movie in two days! It was nice to just relax. After Darren's shopping spree and Zach's playtime at the pool, Kadin awoke and we headed to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Yummy! We've had some amazing food this trip, many of these places need to get the word that Alaska's the place to be! We returned to our hotel to do our packing & wind down the boys before bed.


Home again, home again... Here we go! The boys have done amazing on this trip and my Mom has been a trooper too. Family vacations would not be possible for us with two little boys if someone wasn't so willing to pitch in and help! Thanks a ton Mom! You are awesome & we appreciate your willingness to help (always). Thanks especially for our date night, where we were able to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. What a gift it was to laugh, connect, and be thankful!I have included some pictures of our trip, hopefully they aren't too disturbing!

Thanks again for the prayers, I was truly at ease. God was so faithful! I really didn't want the surgery, but He provided an awesome Doctor & made me as comfortable as I could be before/during the surgery. Here's to another step in the direction of healing. This week marks my 1 1/2 year anniversary since the tumor. I have come a long way and I am confident that God is not finished healing me yet. Stay tuned...more to come!

Thanks be to GOD!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm inspired

So, I figure your never too old to have fun. I was taking Kadin's new bike out for a spin. This counts as Physical Therapy, I think?

Brotherly assistance!

I'm really a Big Boy!

My first bike! I'm getting so big!

The last few days have been rough for me. I'm not sure what precipitated it, but I have felt the effects of it. At times I feel broken and it is tough, but God is good and He's ever faithful! Granted, I didn't see that so strongly when I was struggling, but now that it is somewhat removed, I see clearly the hands of God.The other day, I was thinking about what God has done in my life over the past 18 months. He's always been there, I just didn't recognize it.

I remember just after Darren and I were married, we had the 'children' talk. I told him, I wanted one child at 27 and another at 30. We left it at that and went on with life. But, God heard. I had Zach at 27 and Kadin 15 days before I turned 30! If that timing isn't amazing add in that both beautiful boys were born before the brain tumor was discovered a week after my 30th birthday. I am so blessed to have both my boys and I see God's handiwork in it all.

At moments when I feel particularly broken, I cling to these moments of awareness, waiting to see where God is leading me. I was touched so much today about the 12 year old who was swept out into the ocean & finally located unconscious underwater 20 minutes later ( ). I was so profoundly impacted by this story for many reasons, but two in particular. The first is the emotion conveyed in the photos by Damian Mulinix of this situation. My favorite is of Dales fellow Church youth group, dropping to their knees on the sandy beach in desperate prayer. I can only imagine what those prayers were like. What an incredible testimony this is - yelling to our Father for His help in a time of need. He heard and responded in an unquestionable way! By Medical standards this boy should not be alive, breathing, or talking. He is doing all three and I know God is just beginning on his path to recovery. Many of these things were unknowns for me as well, but I can only praise God for how far He has brought me. Dale's Mother & Father have their own road to recovery, but they haven't been quiet about giving God the glory! Amazing! Please keep this family in your prayers.

Follow the blog about his recovery at:

God is magnificent! I am amazed at His hand!

May you also be blessed by this story.

I'm sharing a few pictures from the last few days. I remember in the not so distant past where I was unable to do so much and I was reminded today by my Mom as she was driving in front of me, that at multiple points in the last 18 months driving and so much more look implausible or unlikely. God deserves all the credit for where I am today and all that I am. TO HIM BE THE GLORY!


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lord, help my eyes to see

Dr. Arnold's (my eye Doctor) office posted Psalm 105:4-5

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

He shared with me Proverbs 4:25-26

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the[a] paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Monday, I got to go see my eye doctor to check on my double vision progress. Thankfully, my brain is still in recovery mode. My double vision has been noticeable to the trained eyes when you watch my eyes 'jump' when I try to track an object left to right. My doctor said that is better but now he notices the 'jump' my eyes do when I look up and down. He decided that to adjust my prism should do the trick. He switched the prism to my right eye and angled it in a hope that my eyes will continue healing. I sure hope so.Soon, I leave for Portland to be reevaluated for my paralyzed vocal fold. If still warranted, we've pre-scheduled a thyroplasty, which will permanently midline the left vocal fold, making my airway even more protected. The Doctor also said it should assist my voice and swallow. I do have to stay overnight in the hospital because they are working so close to my airway. The procedure is done while I'm awake so that my voice can be assessed before, during, and after the procedure. Until now, I pushed it out of my mind, hoping and praying, it wouldn't be necessary. I can still hope;0). I am apprehensive about it all, because I don't know what to expect. I'm nervous because I'm awake during the procedure. I'm scared of something going wrong. I'm happy that hopefully this will fix this issue and will make some other issues easier to deal with. I'll just keep praying about it, knowing God is watching over me.

KLOVE's verse of the day Lamentations 3:25

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him

Tomorrow, I am going back to Providence Rehab not as a patient, but as a visitor. I hope to see my primary therapists, but am excited to see those that I was able to get to know during my almost 10 month 3x per week therapy.