Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grateful

After only six days in the hospital, Hannah got to come home yesterday. It felt so good to have our family back together and in our own beds.  It has been amazing to see how fast this sweet girl has recovered. She is doing amazing.  She continued to blow away the doctors with her progress each and every day.  Hannah went in Tuesday morning for open heart surgery and the placement of a permanent pacemaker.  She now has a conduit shunt helping to supply blood and oxygen to her heart.  Her oxygen stats went from being in the low 80's to now 98-100.  We have noticed a significant increase in her color and look forward to seeing her run around without getting winded.

It has been an emotional six days for us.  We spent time with nurses and doctors who were all apart of saving our girls life four years ago.  Her hospital room was directly across from the room where we heard doctors tell us she wasn't going to make it.  The same room where they worked on our sweet girl for three hours, pumping her full of meds to keep her stable.  We spent time with another family from our church who had been at CHOC for days with there daughter who underwent brain surgery.  We had an interaction with a family I had met by chance weeks ago at Dr. Changs office.  She was waiting for a heart/lung transplant for her one month old.  Her daughter had gotten influenza and was in the CVICU.  Our hearts were burdened for this family who felt hopeless.  We prayed for another chance to talk with them and were disappointed when they were discharged the next day.  Happy she was well enough to go home though for sure.  You see so much pain and despair when you are in the CVICU.  It made us that much more thankful and aware of our need for a Savior.  I don't know how people walk this life without Jesus.  I chuckle as I look back and see how much better it is to have Hannah and my surgery behind us. It wasn't how I saw things going but once again God's plan is ALWAYS the best plan.  I feel hopeful as we anticipate Noah's transplant that we will someday settle into a new normal.

A few days before Hannah's surgery I received a call from a sweet girl Samantha.  I did not know her but she explained that she worked for Noah's orthodontist and had recently heard of our family's story.  The Lord had put our family on her heart and she felt extremely burdened to do something.  She asked if she could meet with me to hear more about our story.  I told her Hannah was getting ready to have surgery so we didn't have time before.  I told her she was welcome to stop by the hospital since we had anticipated a long 14 day stay.  Samantha had decided to come by Monday.  We were surprised to hear we were going home that Monday so Samantha met us at our house instead.  This sweet girl brought us dinner and a beautiful gift basket.  She sat and listened to us tell her all that God had done over the last five years.  There were tears and smiles as we all recounted the beautiful ways God was at work.  we got to hear Samantha's story and her struggles and it became apparent that God was using her in big ways to impact his people.  We are so thankful for a new friend and the way that God encouraged her to reach out to us.  Don't you just love the way God works.  I don't make this stuff up people he is constantly showing himself in beautiful ways.

 Hannah is still recovering and we have a ton of appointments over the next coming weeks.  Please continue to pray for her. that she would remain stable and continue to heal.  Thank you all for your outpouring of love to our family this past week.  We are thankful and have been so encouraged by it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hannah's Surgery


Hannah’s Surgery

Today we met with Hannah’s surgeon Dr. Gates.  I have to admit it was a little overwhelming to sit across the room from the man who played a big part in helping save our little girls life four years ago.  We discussed the process of the Fontan operation Hannah needs to have and what it would entail.  He mentioned that it should be done this summer and we told him we would like to schedule it as soon as possible.  We explained that Noah was expecting a call for a heart and they could not take him off the list for this surgery. He looked at his books and said he could do it this Tuesday.  So Tuesday it is.  This will be an open heart surgery where they will go in and put in a conduit shunt. We are feeling many emotions right now.  We have dreaded this surgery for the last four years but also know how necessary it is. We are eager to get it behind us.  We are fearful of getting a call at the same time and having to split ourselves up to care for two of our children across town from one another.  We are scared of the actual surgery, we are concerned how Hannah and the rest of our kids will process this all.  Concerned how I will keep up physically and so much more.  We do know and are confident though that God has been in control and has known the timing of this all.  He will give us the strength we need to face whatever comes our way.  So thankful we do not have to walk this alone. The song thats ringing through my mind tonight is   “His power Will Prevail.” The lyrics are below.  Please continue to lift our family up in prayer.  We would love more than anything to be a light at CHOC where so many people are experiencing darkness.  Thankful for you all.





Rest assured today that the Lord your God 
    is the One who goes ahead of you
He will put the enemy to flight; 
    what He’s promised He will do
Like a raging fire, He consumes the foe; 
    making Satan and his forces go
We don’t have to fear, God is on the throne, 
    His power will prevail

God’s deliverance is as good as done; 
    who could ever count the victories won?
With a watchful eye He protects His own; 
    He’s the Shepherd, we’re His sheep
When we go to Him with an urgent need 
    He is always there to intercede
We don’t have to fear, God is on the throne, 
    His power will prevail

Each temptation here, every trial we face 
is surrounded by His awesome grace 
Supernaturally strength is given us 
    so that we might persevere 
God is never late, help is on the way; 
    He is faithful in the day-to-day
We don’t have to fear, God is on the throne, 
    His power will prevail

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Fun


Summer has started and I officially have a Middle Schooler, a Third Grader, and a Kindergartner.  It is so hard to see my blessings grow older.  Every Summer we create a  list of fun things to do.  Since we will have a surgery (possibly even two) this summer the list is short.  We are determined even in the midst of a hard season to have some fun.  We will miss our favorite family vacation up at Hume for the third year in a row.  It breaks our hearts but we know one day it will happen again and are thankful for great friends who help us pull off Camp Lietzau as an alternative. We are thankful to live in a place that offers so many fun things to do.  Heres what we have planned. We look forward to hearing how you all spent your summer. Thanks again for following us on this journey.



Smoothie Making Contest
Video Scavenger Hunt Competition
Angels Baseball Game- come join us
Smores
Backyard Movie Night
 Shaved Ice
Beach Bonfire
Splash Water Park
Kids Make Dinner
Camp Lietzau
Individual dates
Fishing
Vacation Bible School  
Swimming With Friends
Homemade Ice Cream
Game Night
Reading Program
Movie Theatre
Baseball Camp
Lego Engineer Camp

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Heart Cath Procedure on Monday

Some days are just so incredible that you never want the day to end.  Then there are some days that are so incredibly hard you think to yourself how did I make it through the day.  Well Friday was one of those difficult days.  Two doctors appointments, several errands, and our youngest blessings recital.  Two extra kids added to the mix that were suppose to spend the night but ended up going back home late that night because our youngest boy started throwing up out of the blue.  We think his body did not like the goodies and jumping on the trampoline.  It was a non stop, just take a breath, and press on kind of a day.  I'm thankful that I can look back and laugh at how crazy it was.  I'm thankful that God does not allow me to be defeated by these hard days or moments.  Instead he reminds me that he is carrying me through and has a plan in all this.


Friday we met with Hannah's cardiologist Dr. Chang.  We were there to discuss her upcoming heart surgery. It is now time to schedule it and there are so many emotions and concerns that are flooding our minds.  Tomorrow she will undergo a heart cath to take a closer look at her heart and check the pressures.  They will put her under anesthesia and either go though an artery in her neck or groin.  It's never easy when your child needs to be put out,  and it's even harder when your child has a heart condition.  Based on what they see with Hannah's heart will determine how soon they will schedule surgery.  We are thinking July.

Please pray for Hannah tomorrow.  Pray that God would protect her, and that the doctors would not see anything alarming or that surprises them.  Pray for Jason and I that we would not be consumed with fear but that we would have faith resting assured that God is working all things for good.





Sunday, May 25, 2014

A More Detailed Update

Thank you so much Marla for giving everyone an update.  It has been a a lot for us all to process and we are still taking it all in.  Months ago Jason, myself, and Noah had a full genome sequence panel done.  We were hoping they would find a genetic link between Noah and I.  After waiting for over three years I was relieved to finally have some answers.  Noah and I both have a very rare genetic disorder called Desmin Myofibrillar Myopathy.  It's so rare that there is not a lot of information on the disease.  They have only recently discovered the disease within the last 6-8 years.  Our next step is to meet with genetics to go through counseling, gather information, and get Jonah tested.  This disease is very familial so the chances of Jonah having this disease are great.  If he tests positive we do not know how and when the disease will present itself.  I was 19 and Noah was 9.  I'm feeling thankful that God protected my life and I was able to get my pacemaker before this disease was even named.  We are also very thankful that we have caught Noah's cardiomyopathy early and that God's hand of protection has been on him. These are the biggest threats with this disease.  The other major concern is Respiratory failure.  The respiratory muscles become weakened because of the skeletal myopathy leading to possible death.

All of this is not what we had envisioned for our life and there is a lot of grieving however we still have hope. With Jesus Christ there is always hope  We can trust in him alone and trust that he is working all things for good.  We know and our confident that this is all part of his wonderful plan.  I know that he purposes these things for our good. I know that all these trials and all this suffering is so that the works of God can be displayed.  I believe these truths and hold onto them every day.  It doesn't mean I have to like this though, it doesn't mean that it's not painful and that I can't cry out to the Lord to take it away.

Romans 8: 22 says

 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Please pray that we would focus our minds on God's truths and his goodness and not be consumed by fear.  We desire to live each day with hope and joy.
Noah's appointment went well.  They can never really give us time limits for a heart for him.  They can only go by where he is on the Unos list, trends, and how often they have seen his name come up.  They did remove some avoiders. We did not ask what they meant by that.  We assume they mean peramiters they set at the beginning when they felt like we had more time.  They feel by doing this that it will help speed things up for him.  They also suggested we schedule Hannah's surgery right away since it needs to be done this summer.  They do not want to take Noah off the list for this which causes me great anxiety but again God will supply what we need and already knows the timing.  All I can do is trust.
It was a lot to take in so we appreciate your prayers as we make appointments and trust God with all the timing.  We are so thankful for the ways you all come along side us.  We are thankful to not have to walk this road  alone.  We feel very supported and truly thankful for you.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Noah's Appointment and News

Thank you to those of you who prayed for Noah's appointment at UCLA today. It turned out to be a significant appointment. After months of genetic testing, the doctors were finally able to give a diagnosis for both Noah and Mel. They both have what is called Desmin Myofibrillar Myopathy. They are excited to finally have an answer - especially this one which they have been waiting for for so long! They also found out that Noah's heart team thinks he will be getting his new heart soon, so they recommended that Hannah's surgery be scheduled ASAP.

There will need to be many appointments in the coming days and weeks - for Hannah to decide a surgery time, for Noah's next heart cath, and with the geneticist. Mel will give a more in depth update sometime soon. Please continue to keep them in your prayers during this time!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Surgery This Summer!!!


I apologize for the lack of updates.  I feel like at times I have been running a marathon and my body and emotions just can't keep up.  I want to sit and write and I emotionally can't put my thoughts into words.

I'm going to start with giving some details about Hannah and how she is doing.  We have noticed in the last month that she has been getting more and more out of breath with activity.  Her oxygen levels have began to drop slightly as well.  She has gone from the mid to high 80's down to the low 80's and sometimes below.  The doctor has been putting off her next open heart surgery for awhile as we have waited for Noah's transplant.  Today after her ultrasound he noticed some funky missed beats.  He decided to put a 24 hour holter monitor on her.  The holter will record the rythm and activity and allow the doctor to see if this is happening frequently.  He doesn't want to wait any longer for her surgery and is advising us to schedule it this summer.  I asked if we could wait to schedule it until after we talk with the transplant team on May 22 to hear there concerns about the timing.  We most likely would have to take Noah off the list for a week or two.  We will see Dr. Chang next month and will schedule the surgery at that time.  We would appreciate your prayers as we help our daughter prepare for this scary surgery.  Pray for both Jason and I as we know this is a necessary surgery but have so many fears as we walk this road again with her.  It's hard to believe it has been over four years with our sweet girl.  She recently got glasses and looks so grown up to me.  She is starting to read words and has a love for learning.  She is super brave and is a fighter and we have no doubt will do big things with her life.

Noah continues to do well.  we really haven't seen much change with his condition.  We take him on May 22 to see the transplant team.  Since it has been a year since his last heart biopsy we will schedule another one in June.  We are praying for God's perfect timing for the perfect heart.  Since it has been almost 21 months we really don't stress about getting the call.  In fact I don't even have a bag ready any more and rarely think to myself today could be the day. I should probably be more prepared but am thankful at the growth God has made in removing the fear and anticipation.  God will work out all those details when the timing is right. Noah has also developed a ganglion Cyst on each of his feet.  He had one drained a week ago.  They will wait to see if it goes down.  If it does not go down they will need to do an MRI.  The other cyst will be drained at the end of the month.  From what I have researched these ganglion cysts are sometimes common with heart patients.  They do not hurt him but could be harmful if they are infected.  It makes me sad that he has to deal with another thing but he handles it like a champ and it honestly bothers me more than him.


Jonah-  Jonah has enjoyed playing baseball.  He has been lucky enough to have the same outstanding coach the last three seasons.  It has been hard to keep up with his baseball schedule but we know how important it is for Jonah to play.  He deserves some attention on him and to do something he really enjoys.  Jonah will go see Dr. Chang on June 24 to have an echo and EKG.  So far Jonah has been ok but there is still the possibility that he could develop cardiomyopathy at some point.

We are winding down the last weeks of school.  I'm honestly amazed as I look back at the year we have had that we made it through.  We got our testing results back this week and I'm so proud of my kids.  They are all doing amazing in school and blow me away with what they are capable of.  God is good and I'm so thankful for the time I get to spend with them at home.  Hard to believe I will be a mom of a middle schooler, third grader, and kindergartner.  How does that happen? :)

Melody-  It was a hard month as I spent three long weeks without my much needed braces.  I had been told for almost two years that I needed feet braces(AFO'S) I fought against them because I was stubborn and not ready to admit I needed them.  I wanted to do as much on my own as I could.  After many hard falls it became necessary.  the first pair I got caused me immense pain.  I thought this was normal so i endured the pain for awhile.  After a few visits to the orthotics place, I was told I should not have any pain and that I should see a foot doctor.  I found a wonderful foot doctor from the help of a friend.  They casted my feet and fitted me for a different type of AFO.  While I waited for them to be custom made it was a dark time for me.  I had to be faced with the reality that I no longer had the option of not wearing the AFO's.  I relied on people to help me walk and used my wheel chair a lot.  We realized just how much this disease had progressed for me and it was very depressing.  I could not run a simple errand on my own and I hated every minute of it.  I  was angry and bitter and could not see past my limitations.  When I finally got the braces I can not explain the immense joy that has followed.  I'm so relieved to have this simple device that has given me so much independence and self reliance.  They do not cause me any pain and have allowed me to play baseball with my son. I even stopped hiding them and have worn them with shorts.  God has done and continues to do a work in me through this disability.  Thankful for the things he is teaching me along the way.

Jason- My sweet husband continues to care for us all.  He bears the weight of so many things and works so hard.  He continues to feel well and goes in for regular visits with his rhuematologist who doesn't see any concerns at this point.

We covet your prayers as this summer will be a busy one with lots of apointments, procedures, and surgery.  We are thankful for you all as you have prayed and supported us through this very long season.  Pray that we would continue to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.