Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Journey of our boy's knee...

On Friday, June 11 we got news that we had been waiting a long time for, but wasn't quite prepared for. Andrew's knee has had a bad pain in it since the spring of 2009. We have been to many doctors and we were told for a while it was just a damaged nerve. He went through physical therapy, but not much changed. We finally got his neurologist to schedule an MRI. When we got the results that Friday we were glad they had found something, but scared...Our pediatrician delivered the MRI results to us and seemed to act as if it was alright. They had found a "neo based neuroplasm" in Andrew's knee. He said they would probably want to remove it, so they called and got us in with the ortho doctor that same day. They acted like they didn't know what this was and sent us on our way. I headed to the park with the kids and Andy went home to get ready for work. He called me while we were at the park to let me know that everything he could find on neoplasms referred to cancer. My heart sank and I literally had to get off the phone with him so I could chase the kids around the park. My mind raced and raced and I just wanted to leave, but knew I couldn't explain that to the kids. I got home that afternoon and the kids went down for a nap and Andy and I had some time to process things. From this afternoon on life turned a bit crazy. We had doctors appointments almost daily and I felt like I spent hours on the phone. We battled over what type of doctor would even take care of him. I drove to Shriners and UC Davis with Andrew just so I could go in and speak to someone face to face, but the only thing I would get was "maybe you could get in sometime in July." No one seemed like this was an urgent matter, but we felt it was. The following Thursday our friend Chris got us in with a neurosurgeon who explained it all to us and was willing to do the surgery the next Friday. He also told us that the "nerve tumor" would most likely be benign. This was a huge weight off our shoulders. At the same time our neurologist was telling us how serious this surgery was going to be and he was ready to sent us across the country to get it was just a slight problem. Two days before the scheduled surgery we got a call that insurance wouldn't cover the doctor doing the surgery and they were rerouting Andrew to orthopedic doctors (who we already knew couldn't help). We were driving home from a camping trip and I made Andy stop at the insurance office so I could talk to them face to face. Thankfully I was able to explain everything and it was apparent to them that we had tried so many things. The lady got us connected with a UC Davis doctor. We were so thankful for Dr. Circillio (who was initially going to do the surgery) because he gave us the key information we needed to fight for what we knew Andrew needed. Finally on June 30 we met with the head of neurosurgery at UC Davis. He discussed everything with Andrew and I and we agreed to do surgery. July 16th will be the big day. We are praying that there is minimal pain and that the tumor is not entangled, which means they would have to cut the nerve and could possibly cause more pain. We are thankful that this "jellybean" (as Andrew and I called it) will be removed and Andrew will not have to deal with the pain it causes him.
It has been quite the journey with this little 6 year old knee...our boy has been a trooper. He asks almost every morning if he has to go to the doctors today. We have been able to go on our little camping trips, but when we are home I feel like we are in doctor mode. I feel like Andrew has missed out a bit on summer vacation because we have spent hours in different doctor's offices. I let him pick a favorite drink to get everytime he has to go to the doctor. He chose a Vanilla Bean Frappacino, which I will gladly buy him for being such a brave and patient boy.
Andy and I have remained hopeful during it as well. We both have felt a good peace even though we did have many moments of frustration. We have felt so blessed by our families and friends. Our life group immediately started bringing us meals and took the kids and I out to lunch. So many people offered to watch the kids and most importantly we would receive email after email about people who were praying for Andrew. I have told Andy over and over again how I don't think it would be so easy if it weren't for the network of people who we are surrounded with. We felt so BLESSED each day.
Although we aren't done yet, I feel a big relief that a surgery date in on the calendar. I'm sure there will be more to this story as the weeks go by. For now I will continue carrying around the large envelope of MRI films and a manila folder with at least 20 doctor's names and numbers on it and medical terms I've never heard until now. These have become my new attachment this summer and I never leave home without them.
Our prayer for our Andrew is that he will have strength and courage through all this. He is very nervous about having surgery. We keep talking about how wonderful life will be when he won't have to worry about bumping his knee anymore!!

Camping with Grandpa and Grandma

Grandpa and grandma rented a trailer and headed up to one of grandpa's favorite spots. The kids loved having a trailer to camp in, not just a tent. The boys mastered their fishing casts, we went on a nice evening hike, Allie fed a lot of geese with grandma, Allie and grandma had a lot of running races (Allie says, "Go" and makes grandma run), has smores, played games inside the trailer, and slept in the trailer. On Tuesday Aunt TT, Grandma E, Aunt Jamey, and the Shermans joined us. My camera was out of battery, so I have no pictures of the afternoon. We swam in the lake, made some more smores, went on a hike to find baby ducklings, and then we headed home after dinner. The kids loved camping with grandpa and grandma and it was so special to spend time doing something our family loves!! Thanks grandpa and grandma for a FUN trip!!!

Off the Kansas City..

Pake, Oma, and Aunt Lily are off to Kansas City...they will be living near Uncle Ryan, Aunt Christy, and Noah to help them plant a church. We will miss being only 2 hours away from them, but we are excited for this new chapter in their lives. We are excited to visit them in August.

Off to Church she goes....

Our little girl is growing up...She steals our heart day after day with her huge smile and constant excitement for life. She loves her baby doll Lucy and brings her many places. Allie is starting to talk more and more. We can understand quite a bit of what she is saying even if the words aren't clear. She is precious and we love her so much!!!

Celebrate America

The last weekend of June a local church puts on Celebrate America. We had a great evening in the park watching patriotic songs being performed, eating cookies, looking through an army helicopter, and watching fireworks. I love any patriotic event and it is very neat to see our boys getting into seeing all the different armed forces and understanding what soldiers do for us. The fireworks were amazing, but Allie was a little scared. Daddy enjoyed the huge hug he got during the entire show.

sporting the three ponytails...

Luke loves his new armband

Allie waving to the helicopter that circles over during one of the songs

A SPECAIL Day with TT and Jesse

Our kids are so lucky to have such an amazing aunt and uncle. TT and Jesse love to hang out with our kids and they always have something fun up their sleeves. A couple Saturdays ago TT picked the boys up in the morning and took them to Petapalooza. It was a pet show with all types of animals. The boys loved it. After that she took them to Target to get a treat and then to grandpa and grandma's house to have a swim party. We dropped Allie off with them after her nap. They fed them all dinner and brought them home all ready for bed. Andy and I got to pack for our camping trip and go to dinner all by ourselves. Thanks TT and Jesse for giving daddy and mommy a wonderful day and for loving on our kids sooo much!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day Camping Adventure

We headed out on Father's Day with the DeJongs, Polischuks, and Kellys for our annual neighborhood camping trip. We went to the coast to a campground called Costanoa. The kids had a wonderful time with one another. It was a bit chilly, but beautiful. Some of the fun things we did were...made an extra special Father's Day dinner for the dads, hiked to the beach, hiked to a beautiful lookout rock overlooking the water, saw seals, played at the campground, got ice cream at the general store, made smores, took HOT showers, played at the "secret tree", went on a hike in the redwoods, saw 28 banana slugs, played on the beach in Santa Cruz, walked on the pier and got candy in Santa Cruz, saw racoons, skunks, and cats at our campsite, cleaned up a mess every morning from racoons, and made many special memories with great friends!!! We have been spending a lot of time at doctor's offices for Andrew's knee. He has been very nervous about what is going to happen, so we made a deal that we wouldn't talk about his knee the whole trip. It was great to forget about everything that was going on and see our boy enjoy running and playing. We are so blessed to have such amazing friends who we enjoy traveling with and our kids get along so well with.