Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Through the Night

Judah made it through the night without throwing up. I was up with him only once around 1:30, but nothing out of the ordinary. He woke up and had a big pancake breakfast, which he kept down just fine.

He was pretty much himself today which was very reassuring. Ending his day with the promised sprinkle donut was a good thing for all of us. Cheers all around the house. We'll follow up with the ordering doctor in two weeks and hopefully hear good news.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Judah's MRI (body scan)

Just a quick update tonight before I will hopefully lay my head on the pillow and not wake up until morning...and I don't mean like 1 or 2 or 3 in the morning, not 4 or 5 either. 6:00 would be okay, but I'd prefer a little later than that, too.

(You're gonna be getting the slap happy tired Briana here, by the way.)

Overall, we experienced so much of God's grace. There were several times today that I looked at my son and thanked God for giving him to me. What a gift our Judah is to us. He teaches us so much about God and brings us so much joy seeing God's amazing grace on him.

The fasting thing all day was not easy, but it really could have gone so much worse. The kids and I walked down to our dear friends, the Grigers, for a "J" breakfast: Jello jigglers and juice! Not the breakfast of champions, but what ya gotta do when you've got to otherwise starve a 3 year old all day.

We made it through most of the morning with only a few pleas for lunch. Eventually, Lawrence took just Judah out to run some errands and to a playground so as to take his mind off his hunger and allow me time to get things together for the rest of the day.

We arrived at Hopkins on time at 2:30, our procedure scheduled for 3:00. Lawrence's sister works at the hospital, in fact on the very floor where Judah's procedure was going to take place. When she stopped by to pay a visit, Judah said to her, "I'm going to be brave a little and I'm going to cry a little". Improvement from just last Friday when he was resolved to only cry! That's remarkable growth in a short amount of time, if you ask me.

And, that's precisely what he did. He was supremely brave! He did not cry even when I took him back the hallway and into the procedure room. He just held tightly to me, and tried not to look anyone in the eye. He let me reassure him, though, and I sensed so much of God's grace in that moment, being able to impart courage to my little boy at the very same time God was imparting courage to my own heart.

He began to cry only when I had to place him on the table and put the mask on his face. He struggled quite a bit, longer than any other procedure/surgery I remember in the past. But, eventually, it knocked him out. And, at that point I know what I will hear next, "Mom, why don't you give him a kiss and we'll take it from here." So, that's what I did, on cue, just like I've done so many times before and walked out of the room, entrusting my son to the care of doctors, nurses and ultimately to God.

I had my "little cry" then, and Lawrence and I took Bella to grab something to eat and wait. Two hours later, my little man was being wheeled to recovery, everything having gone smoothly. He woke up quickly in recovery but was very cranky. I always feel badly for the others in the recovery room having to deal with the cranky kid, especially when it's mine. Of course, that's to be expected and somewhat out of his control, but I feel badly nevertheless.

Our seasoned nurse and mom of a 3 year old herself knew to pop in a movie as quickly as possible. Madagascar, provided some relief but what really motivated him to stop crying and start drinking his water was when I mentioned we'd go home as soon as he proved to his nurse that he was ready to go home. By now, he knows what that means.

Consequently, we were released rather quickly and with enough stickers in hand for Judah's entire Sunday school class, we headed to the car a little after 7 p.m. We were doing fine until we strapped Judah into his carseat and he threw up all over. Actually, I was grateful. I knew he had a lot of air trapped in his stomach, and figured throwing up would help get some of the anesthesia out, too. We called just to make sure and were told that indeed throwing up is a rather normal response to anesthesia, that as long as he didn't throw up continuously thru the night, he should be fine. Dehydration is the concern.

We arrived home, and just after I had placed Judah on the couch, he threw up again. It's now 10:15, and he's cleaned up and in bed. We're hoping he won't throw up anymore. Please pray to that end. Also, he was intubated for the procedure and as is typical, is experiencing some hoarseness in his throat. Intubation can be a tricky thing with asthmatics, but it seems Judah fared well enough today. The anesthesiologists were pleased with his response. Nevertheless, we are also praying that his airway will remain clear and 'un'-infected.

As always, thanks for praying and caring for us.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yesterday, we took Judah to Hopkins for two different doctor's appointments. The first was a pre-op. evaluation for an MRI he'll have done this coming Monday. The doctor heard a heart murmur for which she tried to schedule a last minute ECG but couldn't. Admittedly, I was glad to not have to drag him to another appointment, but later became a bit anxious about it. It's something we'll follow up on at another time, and God willing won't fret about it until then.

The second appointment was a laser treatment for his face. Applying the numbing cream went rather well, but as to be expected, he screamed once we walked into the laser room and didn't stop until we left. Our doctor commented that he did really well to which I said, "I hate to see what 'bad' looks like".

Judah's face is looking pretty rough right now. He blistered in a few spots and has bruises all over as well. Unlike treatments in the past, his face also swelled up a bit. So, we're giving him Motrin and applying vaseline, hoping it heals up quickly.

Please pray for Judah and for us as this Monday, we have to return to Hopkins for an MRI. He'll have anesthesia for it and won't be able to eat all day. His scan time is scheduled from 3-5 p.m.
The MRI is being done from his neck down. His legs will be measured at this time as well to evaluate him for a related syndrome called Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome which effects one's limbs. More on the MRI later, if need be.

All in all, we are feeling our need for God's grace this weekend and into the early part of next week. Of course, we're always in need. We just feel our need more acutely at times. We'd appreciate your prayers for us. Thanks!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm Going to Cry

Judah's appointment went okay..it's over. That's always the best part...when it's over. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the worst is right around the corner.
Today was just a CAT Scan. Next Friday is a laser Tx, and the Monday following a full body MRI (a 2 hr. scan that he'll be under for). Poor buddy. I knew he wasn't gearing himself up to be brave when we were getting ready to leave and he said to the Abuelos (that would be his grandparents for all the non-Spanish speaking people reading), "I'm going to the doctor and I'm going to cry." :)

He kept saying it to me on our drive down to Hopkins in between oohing and ahhing over all the construction equipment on I-95. I was grateful for the distraction for him.
I let him walk with me for the first time instead of taking a stroller into the hospital. So, we did the escalator for the first time, too...he screamed for the first one. I talked him through it and by the time we reached the top, he said, "That wasn't easy, mommy" (meaning, that wasn't hard). He was quickly asking to do it again.

He was great in the waiting room and walking down the hallway with the doctor. We got into the room and when I looked at him, he just had the poutiest little face that said, "I'm about to cry. If anyone makes a move in my direction, I'm going to let 'er rip." And, he did....and didn't stop until I picked him up off the table at which time he immediately stopped and said, "We're all done, mommy" in the most pleasant tone of voice ever. Ironically, he picked the sticker that said, "I was good. I sat very still". HA!! We'll let him live in his delusion. Don't we all want to live there after all? :)

He got a sprinkle donut afterwards from the cafeteria, and we were able to have lunch with Judah's Tia Yvette (that would be his aunt). Overall, I was very grateful and aware of God's grace. He's an amazing little guy. There are few other things that consistently show me the face of Christ and the power of God's grace like all the medical stuff we go through together. I would never ask for it and I would give it all up for a "normal" situation in a minute, but I'm grateful that I know God and that we get to teach Judah about God through the lot that he's been given.

Oh..one other thing that is just too cute to not mention. We were in the bathroom at the hospital today and Judah held up his thumb and said, "Mommy, my thumb is purple."
Me: "Well, it's more red than purple."
Judah: "I have a birthmark on my thumb."
Me: "That's right, Judah. Who gave you that birthmark?"
Judah: "God"
Me: "That's right. Why did He give you a birthmark?"
Judah: "Because He loves me. "

My prayer is that it remains as simple as that for him...at least for a little while.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

CAT Scan

It feels like it's been a while since we've had a doctor's appointment for Judah. But, in the next several weeks, we'll be making up for that! ;)

Friday, I am taking Judah to have a head CAT Scan done as a follow up from his brain surgery, May '06. Remember that? It feels like a lifetime ago. It's a routine follow up test to see if the shunt is working properly. NO anesthesia needed, for which I am very glad. It's typically a rather quick test, but convincing a three year old to lay still and cooperate may be a bit of a challenge.

We'd appreciate your prayers. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Potty Training Update

I know the whole world really wants to know where the Almengor's stand with potty training. That's why I had to make time to write this post. It dawned on me after returning from a neighbor's house last night that really, the rest of the world doesn't need to know that my little boy has 'big boy pants' on and poopied in the toilet. But, somehow caring for three little kiddos all day long, everyday has sent me into a warped world where I forget that not everyone is as consumed with pee, poopie and puke all day long as I am.

Nevertheless, I am very happy to announce (because I know you're all on the edge of your seats wondering) that Tucker has been in big boy underpants for TWO days in a row now!! Not without accidents, but more in the toilet than on the floor. His batting average (for the few sports minded moms out there) is above 500! For the rest of you, that means that he's gone in the toilet more than 50% of the time versus the floor. And, so you don't think I'm condescending to you by explaining the batting average, I had to clarify that with my hubby. :)

I decided to hold off on training Judah as he decidedly told me he would not pee or poopie in the toilet, and the few times I got him on the potty he couldn't figure out how it worked. However, I think since I began witholding the M & M's from him after Tucker went potty, he has a bit more incentive to begin figuring it out.

Because I know you are so interested, I'll keep you posted on the developments of the latest and greatest in the Almengor household!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Re-defining success

Today was what I call a "humdinger" of a day! I am currently sitting at Panera typing on my hubby's work computer, trying to remind myself to eat my soup like a civilized human being as there are adults around me, watching me, probably wondering why I'm scarfing it down at the pace of a marathon runner (that's what I have to do at home if I'm going to get anything in me). Thanks to my wonderful husband for allowing me a few hours to get out of the house, re-group mentally and refresh emotionally and spiritually.

I did not jump into potty training full force today. Diapers are still being worn and may be for quite some time. Who knows? I liked Beth's comment about not having to worry about dating issues if we never decide to potty train! :) And, like Gretchen (Gigi) said, they'll figure it out eventually, right?!

Back to my humdinger day.
Given our computer is no longer in commission, I had to write my "to-do's" on paper today. Unlike days gone by, my list was only about 4 bullets long. I didn't think I was being all that ambitious. I had committed to making a meal for a friend who recently had a baby, and I had corn on the cob that needed cooked, de-cobbed and frozen (it was less than 2 dozen... not like 100 ears which people who are serious about freezing vegetables for the winter do).

The other things on my list I considered optional....like finishing, or even starting for that matter, about 7 loads of laundry, making something with the 6 peaches that are ripe and quickly going to rot on my counter, and taking the indoor trash to the outdoor trash can in the back yard. I didn't think that was aspiring to much. And, I thought I'd try to include the boys in on my cooking ventures as they typically are very enthusiastic about that. Yes, it would take longer to get it done, but it would be quality time spent with them and more importantly, it would keep them under my direct supervision and out of trouble while I worked. :)

Things didn't quite get off to a speedy beginning. By 11:30, I pretty much had nothing done. AT least it felt like nothing even though I had been literally spinning all morning trying to meet the needs of my children. By lunch, I was exasperated with my children and a bit fearful that I wouldn't finish the meal I had promised to my friend. At one point, I was trying to clean up the crumbs on the floor when my son jumped on my back. I yelled at him and felt immediate conviction that I had at that point grieved the Holy Spirit and sinned against my son. He was in need of discipline, but more importantly, I was in need of forgiveness and God's grace.

I took my son to discipline him but first asked for his forgiveness. Together, we prayed and asked for God's grace. This doesn't look quite as polished as it reads here when actually doing it with a three year old. But, it's not about appearances, is it? :)

God graciously reminded me of His truth, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And, I sensed His Spirit say something to me that I've heard sooo many times from Him before, "I know what you need. Trust me." I got up from the floor (literally and figuratively) with fresh faith that He would enable me to do what I had committed myself to for that day.

Later in the afternoon, I had the blessing of talking with my dear and faithful friend, Laurie, who shared with me what a friend once shared with her about success. We must re-define our definition of success. It's not about what our house looks like at the end of the day or even what we look like at the end of the day (believe me, today it's not so pretty!). It's about having a greater appreciation for the gospel. It's about being more grateful for grace.

I'm definitely ending the day with a greater appreciation for the Gospel. Christ, the perfect Son of God, died so that I could have forgiveness for yelling at my son, so that I could together with my son talk to God, inviting His help for a situation that is absolutely impossible to manage without Him.

I'm ending the day more grateful for grace, the undeserved gift from God. In my 'brutishness', He still lavished kindness and blessing on my life by allowing my boys to take an uncommonly long nap, freeing me up to get the dinner together for my friend.

So, my house is a wreck. There are probably 4 loads of wrinkled laundry waiting to be folded on my bed at home. There is a sink so full of dishes that I can't see through my pass thru window and there are peaches rotting on my counter because I couldn't get to them today. But, I will go to bed knowing I had a successful day, at least in the eyes of my Savior. And, I will wake tomorrow and pray that you will awake, look at the day ahead and know it will be a success if we come to the end of it once again more grateful for grace.

Computers and Potties

They are sort of related in our world as of late.
You see, our computer went to the potty..it's toast...won't turn on...FINISHED!
My boys are three years old, and they have yet to learn what our three year old computer did rather successfully: to "go to the potty". Which brings me to this post.
1. I will not be online much until we figure out how to make that money tree in the backyard grow in order to buy a new laptop. :) Anyone have suggestions of a good laptop that might last us more than three years?

2. I MAY make an "official" attempt at potty training this week. It's probably not a good thing that I'm still undecided. I thought I was decided. We went out Saturday and had the boys pick out underwear and bought the treasured potty candy. But, then today (the day I'm supposed to start) I woke up and thought, "Do I really want to do this?" I've got an extra meal to make for someone today, caregroup tomorrow, a dinner out with my sister in law on Thursday. Is this really the week to begin training? Of course, next week will come and I'm sure there will be plenty of excuses then, too. To start or not to start, that is the question. The little men are not out of their beds yet, so I'll spend some time in God's Word and pray about it (hopefully before they wake up), and see if I can make a humble yet decided effort at the potty training thing today. I would appreciate anyone's prayers.