Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Post Op Check-up...

We went into the clinic today for Caden's post-op check-up.  We had chest x-rays, an echo, an EKG, and he got the stitches from his chest tubes removed.  All news was great!  Everything looked very very good.  We could simply not be happier!!  I will say it again...God is SO Good!!!
Of course, waiting rooms are always a good place for the DS.  Santa made a good choice with this item (even if he didn't know how good of a choice at the time!)
We have had such wonderful care our entire time at Batson, but Dr. Salazar had better watch out, Caden is already aiming for his job!!
Words can simply not begin to express how thankful I am for the entire Congenital Heart Surgery team at Batson.  Wonderful things are happening at Batson...we are so fortunate to have them in Mississippi!!  The program has been in place for 3 years now, and they have just done their 1000th case with a 98% success rate.  That is fabulous!!!  I will always be so very grateful for these people.  I hope to not see them again for a LONG while, but it is nice to know that they will be there when we need them again!
(photo cred: Blair Batson Children's Hospital FB)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Can't Believe We're Home...

Thursday morning, Dr. Salazar stuck his head in our door and said, "How does going home today sound?"  Of course, we were ALL for it!!  He said that Caden was doing remarkably well.  He normally doesn't send his patients home until post-op day 5, and here we are going home on post-op day 3. 
After that it was a flurry of activity.  Nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, x-rays, echo...it was a regular parade of medical professionals!!  Caden did very will with everything.  The last thing they did was pull his chest tubes...no fun!  After that, this is what we saw for the next 2 hours while all of the necessary paper work was being handled.
Once all of the paperwork and discharge instructions were done, our sweet nurse came in and took out the last IV and disconnected us from all the machines.  Then it was time to get ready to go home!!!
Caden chose to be taken out in the wagon.
Before long, we were in the van headed to the house!!!
When we got home, Caden requested to sit in the recliner.  I hadn't seen a smile that big (or genuine) in quite a while.

So now we are all settled in at home.  Caden is having fun being at home with his brother.  Grayson has not left his side very much.  The hardest part of being home is convincing Caden that he is, in fact, still healing and needs to take it at least a little easy!!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers!  We are so thankful for how the Lord has used so many to help fix Caden up.  We have seen first hand the tangible power of prayer!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Movin' on up...

After lunch on Tuesday, Caden was able to sit up in a chair for a while in the ICU and have a Popsicle. 
Yes, that child was dependent on a ventilator just 12 hours earlier!!!  Amazing. Then we had him walk 2 laps around the ICU. Not long after that, they were moving us up to the surgical step down unit. YEA!!!  
Sweet baby!  He watched a little television and played with the game system in the room and he was back to sleep again. 
He was finally able I get some good rest Tuesday night. Wednesday morning, Caden's nurses removed his bandage and he was super happy to get into some regular clothes. 

We had to start walking the halls again today. 

He did 2 laps and them came back for his first real food since Sunday. (I don't consider Cheerios real food!)

After lunch, he was pooped!  Here is what we saw for the next hour and a half. 

Caden also had some very sweet visitors today.  Someone was super excited to see his big brother. 

He even got some letters and goodies from his class. 

We have also been working with this spirometer to help us take deep breaths. 
We are making little steps towards home every day. Keep on praying for this little guy's healing and endurance. Thanks for all of your prayers and support!!




Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How the surgery went...

Let me just begin by saying that surgery went FAR better than expected!  The actual surgery took just under 4 hours. The best news is that they were able to successfully repair the valve!!  This is OUTSTANDING news!!  God is so good. He has certainly answered our prayers.  
For those of you who would like to see what the surgeon did, here is his drawing of it. 
The valve on the bottom was the "before", and the top is the "after."  As you can see in the top pic we are still left with a bicuspid valve (it should be tricuspid), but it is HIS VALVE!!  Praise The Lord!!
We got to see him wheel by on his way into the ICU.
We then waited for about an hour and a half to get to come back and stay by his side. 
In case you were wondering, puppy did great during the surgery. 

They were able to take him off the ventilator last night. Each time he wakes up, he is very panicked, so he is back on a mild sedative. He is on plenty of pain meds, and they are making him super itchy. Today lets pray for peace of mind for this little one. He wants so badly to go home, but his body has a way to go. He just needs to stay calm so it can begin to heal. 
Again, thanks so much for all of the prayers, please keep it up!!  



Monday, April 8, 2013

Morning of Surgery...

We had to be at the hospital this morning at 5:30, so that made for an early morning at the Porterhouse!!  We made it in on time and waited to be sent upstairs.

Then we headed upstairs and got suited up. 

He even got a little time in for someDisney junior and DS. 

We then got to ride the bed on the elevator. 

We also met with the surgeon before they took our sweet boy back. We are currently about 2 and a half hours in to the surgery.  Thank you so much for all of your prayers. 

'twas the night before Surgery...

Last night we let Caden choose anything he wanted for dinner last night, so we headed to Applebee's. 

He was about halfway through dinner when he decided that we would also need a little dessert, so we headed over to Bop's for some ice cream and a cookie. 


Then we dropped Grayson at my parents house and headed home for the night. 
I made sure to get a pre-incision picture of his chest. 

And then he wanted to "pose."

He finally got to sleep, and my oh my, the morning came entirely too soon!!  :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pre-Op Day...

Let me begin by saying that we had a WONDERFUL experience today at Batson!  Everyone was just fabulous...we felt very very taken care of.  Both Frank and I fully expected to come away from today with more anxiety about Monday because we would know more of the details.  However, we both feel much more comfortable about the upcoming week after today's appointments.  What an answer to prayer...we serve a MIGHTY God who hears the prayers of His people!
Caden woke up this morning and immediately noticed that he was late for his usual school wake up time.  So I explained to him that we would not be going to school today.  Instead we would be going to see a new heart doctor.  I told him that this doctor and Dr. Braden thought that now is the time to do some more repair work on his heart.  He seemed totally fine with it!!  HUGE prayer answered there!  I told him that we would be hearing all about the surgery and that he could feel free to ask any of the doctors or nurses whatever questions he had.  He seemed happy with that.
We dropped Grayson off at my parents house, and we headed to the hospital.  We were warned that this appointment would take some time, and they weren't kidding.  We saw lots and lots of people, but it all went very quickly.  We first headed up to the clinics and had the dreaded blood work done...this was the only time that tears were shed.  The nurses were great because they told him what a good job he did during the needle part, and they let him pic some prizes from the toy room.
God love him...he was so excited about that red harmonica!!  What a love!  Then they sent us on a short scavenger hunt for a chest xray (didn't get a pic there...felt like I was creeping out  the techs.  ha!) and an EKG.
Back up to the waiting room to watch a little Disney Junior before we were called back again.

We headed back in the clinic after that, and they decided that we should go ahead and have another echo so that the hospital could have one on file that was performed "in house."  Caden has had tons of these done before, so it was no biggie!

When we got back to our room, he was getting a little hungry, so he decided to have some skittles out of my bag.  He thought it was awesome that I packed his lunch box with snacks...it truly is the little things!
Then we met with the 2 nurse managers who answered lots of questions about where to be and what to do on Monday.  We didn't get to meet the surgeon (he had to go out of town unexpectedly), but we did meet with his nurse practitioner who was just fabulous!  He went into detail about the surgery itself, the recovery, and everything in between.  Amazingly, Caden never got panicked about any of it.  He was quite happy to find out that his puppy gets to go into surgery with him and will come out of surgery with a bandage just like his.  It means a lot to this mama for little things like that to be considered!
When we had finished all of our appointments in the clinic, we went up to the pre-op floor and were seen by one of the pediatric dentists to get dental clearance for surgery.   This took MAYBE 30 seconds...ha!  Then we waited to be seen by anesthesia.
Once we were done there, it was out to lunch!!  We were there for a little over 4 hours, so Caden was ready to G-O!

 We are still on schedule for surgery first thing Monday morning.  We are to be at the hospital at 5:30...good times!  The surgery may last anywhere from 5-10 hours.  It all depends on what procedure they decide to do once they get in there.  First they will try and repair his existing valve.  Once they have tried this, they will run tests and see if it is giving them the kind of results they want.  If they are not happy with how the repair goes, they will go ahead with a valve replacement.  Even with the replacement, they still have some procedural decisions to make.  They can either go with a straight forward aortic valve replacement by tissue valve, or they may choose to go with a Ross Procedure.  Please be in prayer for the decisions the surgeons will be making Monday once they get in to see what they think is best for Caden's heart.  They all have their benefits and risks, so there is really no bad choice!  Praise the Lord for modern medicine!!  I'm still just always amazed at the things they can do.  Caden will go from surgery to the PICU where he will stay for 24-48 hours.  He will then move to the surgical step down unit where he will stay for a few nights.  All in all we should be in the hospital for 5-7 days just depending on how things go.
Thank you all for the prayers that you have offered so far...we can truly feel God's peace wrapped around us!!   Please keep on praying as we go into surgery Monday and for the recovery to follow. We deeply appreciate each one of you!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pre-Op Eve...

This day has seemed so far off for so long, but now it is upon us.  Tomorrow is the day that we go for Caden's pre-op appointment.  But more importantly, it's the day we tell Caden about his upcoming surgery.  We have waited until the last possible moment to share this with Caden on purpose.  He is such a tender little one that we wanted to guard him from it as long as we could.  We will share the news with him in the morning before we go in for his appointment.  Please pray that his nerves would not get the best of him.  Bless his precious self, he is a bit of a worrier, so we pray that will be minimal!
As of right now the plan is to go ahead with open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve on Monday, April 8.  We will know more after our appointment tomorrow, so I will be sure to update. 
As always, your prayers are GREATLY appreciated as we walk this road with our sweet Caden.  We serve a Mighty God, and we rest in the knowledge that Caden is in His care and protection!
Joshua 1:9

Monday, February 18, 2013

We really are still here...

I have to laugh when I look at those babies in the header pic on this page.  That pic is nearly 5 years old, but I just can't bring myself to change those baby faces! (Maybe I'll work up the courage one day soon!)
I wanted to go ahead and get back into blogging because the Porter House has some big things on the horizon, and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone posted.
First things first, here's a pic that's not 5 years old...ha!
 See...we're still around!  That pic was taken after Caden's first grade play right before Christmas.  
Things have certainly been changing around for us.  Frank is no longer a youth minister.  He left youth ministry (we just felt the time was right) in December of 2010.  In January 2011, he left for 3 months to attend Chaplain School (CHBOLC) at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina. 
When he came home, he went to work for the National Guard full time for almost a year and a half in a couple of different capacities.  Then in June of 2012, he was asked to fill in for a church in Carthage.  We went to Pleasant Grove Church on Father's Day of 2012, and we haven't left!  Frank started as their full time pastor in October.  We simply couldn't be happier with where God has placed us.  We absolutely LOVE our church family!
In other news, we are gearing up for Caden's next heart procedure.  He had a valvuloplasty done in the Cath lab when he was 5 months old.  He's been doing fine ever since, but we knew we were just "buying time" until his first valve replacement.  Well, the time is upon us.  We are currently just waiting for the surgeon to schedule the surgery.  I will do my best to keep everything updated here.  :)  We haven't told C about the surgery.  He has such a sweet spirit, I don't want him to worry about what is before him.  Because of this, we are guarding him from this as long as we can.  Thankfully we now have a FABULOUS pediatric heart surgeon who specializes in congenital heart defects at our hospital in Jackson.  Another way God puts even the smallest pieces together:  our pediatric cardiologist (whom we LOVE!)  now practices in Jackson instead of Brookhaven.  It really is the little things that bring peace!