Friday, August 26, 2011

Fill #2


We did our 2nd fill last night & we did it......are you sitting down?...

...WHILE SHE WAS ASLEEP! Yes...again we were able to do her fill when she was sound asleep. I tell you what, it was a perfect fill. They go so much quicker when you don't have to do 2 expanders. Just 1 & done!

I got 20mL's in & she's doing just fantastic today...

 Brookie with 65mL's in her expander. We're almost 1/3 of the way there already...& only on week #2!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Recovery & the last days in Chicago

The word "recovery" shouldn't even be used when it comes to Brooklyn & how she is after surgery...especially THIS surgery. She did so amazingly well that I only gave her Tylenol ONCE the night of surgery, & that was it. She didn't need any other than that. She was happy, running around, sleeping well (well...sleeping "well" for her), & being her normal Brooklyn self! I was absolutely amazed. :o)

We stayed pretty quiet the day after surgery, just relaxing & letting Brooklyn "recover" from her expander insertion. Dr. Bauer put 30 cc's in her head & we were told we could start expanding 10 days from surgery...which would be around the 18th of the month, which just so happens to be my first day back at work.

I felt bad that poor Cali had to stay in with us the whole time so her & I went & found a park for her to play in. Oh boy did she ever have a good time!! Here's some pics from that:

My family left on Tuesday afternoon to head back home, so it was just the 4 of us left. We had wanted to go to the top of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) but we'd been putting it off & waiting especially for this trip since we knew it'd be nicer weather so we could see farther. We did the right thing!! We were told that the view is better from the John Handcock observatory, so that's where we went. It was simply amazing! Here's some pictures from that:

Our little bubble-girl, all ready to go

The John Handcock building & Water Tower Place (See below for a story about our lunch at WTP.)

Navy Pier

The City of Chicago!

Great view of Lake Shore Drive

Cali washing the windows :o)

My happy child! ;o)

We were told about this amazing food court at Water Tower Place. It sounded amazing so we thought we'd check it out. We found the Water Tower Place, which is right across the street from the John Handcock building, & it's like this huge 7 story shopping mall with nothing but high-end stores. Yeah, no Bath & Body Works there! Anyways, we found the food court & we had to be seated at a table by a hostess. She then told us how it "worked". There were rules to this food court! Each person is given a credit card & each person has to present that card when you leave, but it's up to you if you want to use just 1 card for everybody or use separate cards for each person, but you have to show EACH card when you leave or else you'll be charged. So there are about 13 different types of food...everything from burgers to asian, from comfort food to was amazing! You order your food & pay with the card they gave you, then go back to your seat & eat it. The food was very good & for the most part the girls liked it. But then comes leaving. We thought maybe our lunch would be $20-$25 at the MOST. HA! Holy canoly it came to $43!!!!! Yes...FORTY-THREE DOLLARS! I couldn't believe it, to be honest. I went through that receipt with a fine-tooth comb when I got it, but it was right. So needless-to-say...about 75% of our daily food allowance was gone after just eating lunch!

So after the John Handcock building we got our favorite Pizzaria Uno that we got last time we were in Chicago, took it back to the hotel, & ate it with our new friends & next door neighbors, the Carraro's. Nadia & Roberto Carraro have 2 girls, Taelor & Jaeda, Taelor with the nevus. She had an extensive surgery just a few days before us.

The next day we went to the aquarium (gotta get use of that annual pass that we share with the Moller's) & then saw the Cloud Gate thing in Millenium Park. The Cloud Gate sculpture/statue/art THING was something made to get tourists to Chicago. Apparently it worked cause there's always tons of people around it. It's very famous; I bet you've seen it tons of times, just didn't know what it was. I still don't know what it is, but it's cool to look at non-the-less! Here are pictures of the aquarium & Cloud Gate:

Me & my diva

Looking at the fishys

Jellyfish in their new exhibit


Cali playing in the kids touch area

And what would a trip to Chicago be without a trip to Harpo studios?! 

Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate looking's really cool when you walk through it & look up!

Us next to Cloud Gate

My favorite Cloud Gate picture

We enjoyed this trip (as much as we could, LOL) especially more this time because my family was all able to come with us. It was nice being able to pass the time with my family sightseeing & doing stuff in Chicago that we haven't done before. Our last night we hung out with the Carraro's again (kind of a nightly thing we were doing there for a while)!!

Hanging out one last time with the Carraro's from Vancouver
 Brooklyn, Jaeda, Cali, Taelor

Nadia & me

Friday was travel back to MT day, but we had to be ok'd first before we were able to go. We went in & saw Mim bright & early Friday AM. Poor Brooklyn...she just didn't wanna be held.......
LOL, But I was bound & determined to get that picture of her & Mim!! I promised Mim I wouldn't put it on Facebook. (She said nothing about my blog though.....)  :o)

Oh...I forgot to mention about Brooklyn's drains! She had her regular drain after surgery that was draining quite well for about the first 12 hours. After that it was just draining a little. Then a day after surgery when she was up & at 'em she pulled her dressing off & had a hold of the drain...oops! She definitely didn't pull it out, but it was out a good 1/4" from where it was placed by Dr. Bauer. Once she did that, it just stopped draining. I left it though, for about 36 hours before I took it out, just to make sure it wasn't draining anymore. We kept her dressing on that day (Thursday), then gave her a good head-washing that night. So she was drain-free when we went in & saw Mim on Friday. I was so happy because that meant driving back home without dressings & drains!!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'd Like A Sierra Mist & A Meal Tray

The absolute funniest You-Tube video I've ever seen is about a drug seeker that goes to the ER claiming she has seizures, seizure-pain, & hand-twitching seizures. It's so hilarious, especially to people with medical backgrounds because we see this kind of stuff a lot.

Here's the video:

Or you can click on this link to take you directly to YouTube:

As I said in the previous post, "It's Surgery Day", I had ordered a burger but instead they brought us 2 trays with chicken sandwiches & a pop. The second I saw these trays I burst out laughing. I was holding Brooklyn & I started laughing so hard that Dustin had to take her & lay her down in her crib. I had tears & I was laughing for a good 30 mins. I, of course, had to take a picture of it & send it to a few people that I knew would "get" it. Here it is.....
"I'd like a Sierra Mist & a meal tray." HAHAHAHAHA!!!

So just so you know this wasn't staged...I'm not the biggest Sierra Mist fan so I didn't order it at all. I actually asked for a Root Beer & Dustin asked for a Pepsi. It was nice, though, getting to laugh so hard at something so silly!

It's Surgery Day

Well this day has come. Back in March I thought this 4 month break would go by so slow. But boy was I ever wrong. This past 4 months has flown by so quick. I can't believe surgery is here already. But this means that we're that much closer to this Nevus Journey being put behind us.
We got "the call" on Friday night, actually, instead of last night saying that we were surgery #1 today so we needed to be at the hospital at 6am for our 7:30am surgery. Dustin took the call & was told: Brooke couldn't have anything to eat after midnight, only milk up until 3am, clear liquids until 5am, & to be at the hospital at 6am.

At 2:30am Brooke woke up so we gave her about 2 ounces of her bottle & put her back to sleep. We woke up bright & waaaay too early at 5am, got dressed, grabbed our bags, got a very sleepy Brooklyn, & headed for the hospital. We got there at 6:01am, went to the Ambulatory Surgery dept, & waited for everyone to come in & see us. Brooke was having a ball while we were waiting. She was dancing on the bed, running around, playing peek-a-boo, & posing for pictures. She was just a doll!

The first VIP to come in was Dr. Bauer. He told us the plan & was on his way. Then in walked the RN that was training to be a Nurse Anesthetist. She asked us a few questions & then asked when her last feeding was. We told her that at 2:30am she had whole milk. Blank stare. Uhhhh, apparently that wasn't the "right" answer cause she asked us again...& again. And then she left the room. Then the RN came in & asked us a third time when she ate last. AGAIN we told her that we were told she could have milk up until 3am so we gave her about 2 oz at 2:30am. And then that nurse left. A little while later the anesthesiologist came in & said that because it wasn't 6 hours (it had been 5) that she'd had something to drink, that we would have to wait an hour for the surgery. I'm not a huge fan of this anesthesiologist in the first place, but when she started rubbing it in that it was only 5 hours & not 6...and looking at me like I was an incompetant mother, that's when I got mad! I then explained FOR THE FOURTH time that we were told 3am!!!!! We were told that she couldn't have milk past 3am & clear liquids until 5am. But of course she didn't believe me. And here I was just taking the word of my husband...who was the one that took the call. So she was obviously annoyed that the very first surgery of the day would now be starting an hour later. UGH!

So while I sat there feeling pretty upset that I was the one that caused their entire day to be pushed back by a whole hour, I just held my little Brooklyn while she fell asleep in my arms. I felt horrible that Dr. Bauer was just in there & said "I'll see you soon", & then it was moved back an hour. I felt horrible cause I KNEW that the anesthesiologist was just saying all sorts of bad things about how horrible of a mother I was cause it was 5 hours & not 6 hours since she'd eaten last; and I HATE it when people talk bad about me! And I felt horrible cause I was just postponning the inevitable.

So we sat there for an hour, just waiting for time to pass. Thank goodness that Brooklyn fell asleep cause I don't know what I'd have done if she had started getting hungry & mad. At 8:10am the nurse came in & gave Brooklyn some pre-surgery calming medicine, as I like to call it. Then at 8:15am they came in & we walked to the holding area where you wait right before it's time for them to take you to surgery.

 Waiting with our cape on!!

A little giggly cause of the drugs!

Right at 8:30am, on the dot, they came & got her & took her back. We took our typical, sad, crying walk to the cafe, got a coffee & danish, then rushed back to the waiting room. Don't ask me why I always rush back to the waiting room, but I do. I know surgery is going to be a while, but I still feel like I need to be in that waiting room the entire time.

We got there, checked in, & then about 10 mins later (at 9am) we got a call that they were just beginning. So we sat...& waited...& sat...& checked the screen...& waited some more. Dustin went to the cafeteria & grabbed some milk for Brooke when she woke up & by the time he got back we only were sitting there about another 5 mins when Dr. Bauer came in. It was 9:50am! Holy quick surgery!!! He said that, of course, everything went well, Brooke was doing well, & there wasn't one problem at all. We went back to our seats in the waiting area & gathered up our stuff & then got the call that it was ok for us to go see her. Usually they only allow one person at a time. Even in March when it was just the 3 of us that went to Chicago, they still only allowed me to go back. But this time we both grabbed our stuff & started walking down the hall. I did say really quick to the waiting room volunteer "It's ok that he comes too, right?" & she said that it was so we didn't pass go or collect $200!!! We just went! This was Dustin's first time getting to go to the PACU so it was his first time putting on the painters outfit. LOL He wasn't liking it too much. ;o)

He wasn't mad in this picture, even tho it looks like he is. I just caught him off guard with the picture!

We got in & she was sleeping away. Compared to her 2 previous surgeries, she looked GREAT. I couldn't get over how fantastic she looked. Besides the dressing on her head, she honestly just looked like she was sleeping & it was any other morning.

Her vitals were great so shortly after we got in there they took the oxygen off to see what her level would stay at. It was at 98-99% so that was great. Brookie just slept, & slept.....& slept.....& slept some more! This was by far the most she'd slept after surgery. She didn't even stir a bit! Since she was sleeping so soundly we just kept her in the crib. So Dustin & I just sat there in the chairs right next to her. If she'd move her big toe we'd both pop up out of our chairs & stand next to her! But then she'd not move again so we'd sit back down. Then she'd take a really big deep breath & again we'd jump out of our seats to see how she was, but again, she wasn't waking up. After an hour or so the nurses kept telling us that she needed to wake up, so we started tickling her foot, rubbing her face, taking the blanket off of her...but it didn't help! She must have been one tired little monkey.

After a while she decided to stir a little & that's when the nurses decided that she was ok to go to a room. I sat in a wheelchair & carried her while they pushed us to our room. We got there & I wanted to keep holding her, so I sat in the chair in a corner & just held her, waiting for her to wake up.

She finally started to open her eyes & I thought she was hungry. The nurse didn't want her to have milk yet, but was happy to give her some Pedialyte, which she drank in about 2.3 seconds. The nurse then said it was fine that she had her bottle. She would doze in & out while drinking her bottle, but she never cried.

Drinking her Pedialyte with her arm restraints & BP cuff on...poor girl! She was SUCH a trooper!!

She did fuss about 2 times, but as soon as I would re-position her, she'd be fine. And then back to sleep she went. Literally hours passed & she wasn't moving a bit. She was perfectly fine, but she just didn't want to wake up. By this time, my mom, Cali, & brothers came by to see how everything was going. (My dad had a baptism so he had flown back to MT & was coming back to Chicago during the surgery.) I needed to go to the bathroom & Dustin was down getting more milk from the cafeteria so I, very quietly & carefully, handed Brooke to my mom. Well that awoke the sleeping giant! Brooke did NOT like it that someone else had her, even though it was Oma. She screamed, & cried, & screamed some more until I'd taken off my painters suit, went to the bathroom, & came back out. As soon as I grabbed her again, back to sleep she went!

Things were pretty uneventful so my mom, Cali, & brothers left. They went swimming & then had to go to the airport to pick my dad up. I needed to get up & move so I laid Brooke back in her bed to sleep. She was so peaceful laying there with her arms out to the side...Straight out to the side because of the arm restraints that were on. She slept for a long time. The nurse said we could go as soon as she was up & acting ok, so around 2:30pm Dustin & I decided to start trying to wake her up. We had been watching movies on the TV & playing games on our phones until they both died & were charging up again!

So we started waking her up slowly. I'll never forget this as long as I live.... I was standing more towards the head of the crib & Dustin was sitting in the chair. Brooklyn started stirring a little bit & Dustin says to her "Hiiiii Broook-ieeeee". She laid there with her eyes completely closed, raised up her right arm straight in the air, waved with her fingers, & laid it back on the bed! It was hilarious. That's when we knew she was awake & just being a tired, lazy girl! She finally opened her eyes & gave us a nice little smile & then started trying to sit up. She pretty much sat up all by her self...& then just sat there, looking around as if to say to herself "Where the heck am I & why is my head heavy again?".

Daddy & Brooke talking

Very soon after she sat up she was wanting those darn arm restraints off. I hate those things anyways cause she's pretty much a houdini & can touch her head with them on. So I took them off & just stayed right there with her making sure she didin't touch her head. I don't know if she just knows not to touch it or what, but she didn't even think about touching her head or her dressing at all. It was nice for a change!! The nurses came in cause it was change of shift & they said that she needed to eat something & then she could go home. They gave us a menu & said to order anything we needed for ourselves & for her. So we got her some mac & cheese, chicken strips, & yogurt (cause we knew she'd have to be in the mood for at least one of those things), & then got me a burger (Dustin wasn't hungry). About 10 mins later we got 2 meal trays - both were chicken sandwiches, one with fries, the other with mashed potatoes, & both with a pop (See next blog post about that one!!!!!) and Brooke's food was there too. Totally not what we ordered, but it was just fine.

They forgot the milk so Dustin made his 3rd trip down to the cafeteria for more milk while I started feeding Brooklyn some food. Boy was she ever hungry! She downed a good half of the mac & cheese, almost 1 whole chicken strip, & TWO things of yogurt. For my little itty bitty Brooklyn....that was a LOT! The nurses came in & got a kick out of how messy she was when she was eating...but hey, at least she was eating!

All cleaned up - topping it off with some milk

They decided that she was doing so fantastic that she could go so they got our discharge paperwork, we packed up, & left!!! We went to Walgreen's, filled up her 3 scripts, & headed back for the hotel exactly 12 hours after we left for the hospital.

We made it back to the hotel about an hour before my family came back from getting my dad. And by that time Brooke was up & walking all around again! I tell you what...she's simply amazing. Her drains were draining a lot so we changed them every 4 hours, along with giving her the antibiotic 3 times a day. At 7pm she fussed for about 10 seconds & I'd realized that she hadn't had any pain medicine all day, so I gave her Tylenol & she was fine after that!!!

All-in-all, if we had to have surgery today (which we did) it was the absolute best case scenerio that we could have asked for. Brooke did amazing, Dustin & I did amazing, the nurses (as always) did amazing, & of course good ole Dr. Bauer did AMAZING!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Surgery... let's have a party! What better way to take our mind off of surgery #3, which is just about 12 hours away, than to get together with a bunch of other nevus families??!!!
Ok a little background first... I found our hotel back around October'ish when Amie & I were looking at places to stay together for our kids surgeries in January. I wanted the full kitchen, we both wanted the pool, & when I was talking to the Holiday Inn reservation people the guy told me about our hotel. I told Amie about it & we were sold. So we started staying at the StayBridge in Lincolnshire, IL. The first trip in January it was just us 2 families. Then in March it was just us (cause Amie's friend got her the family discount at a Marriott...who could pass that up?). But this trip we are here with SIX other families!!! Yes, folks, count em...SIX!!

There was us, Amie Moller & her family (Zac is the one with the nevus), Christine Melton & her family (Josh with the nevus), Beth Nagel & her family (Sully, the nevus-owner), Nadia & Roberto Carraro with their daughters (Taelor with the nevus), & Maggie Mangold with her family (Reid with the nevus - who has surgery the same day as Brooke & will have the removal surgery the same day, too!)

So the 4 of us (me, Amie, Christine, & Beth) knew we'd be spending a LOT of time together, but we decided to have a pizza party the night before surgery. Well once we found out all these other people would be at, or around, our hotel we thought we'd just make a big nevus get-together out of it.

We told everyone about our get-together & in the end there were about 43 people there!!! So what started out as a 4 family get-together turned into about a 9 family event!! And get this, even Dr. Bauer & his office manager were there! Yup, darn skippy right they were. It was so great. Dr. Bauer's office had to cancel our pre-op appt with him on Thursday and then again on Friday cause he was late in surgery. So he did a quick check over her to make sure she was well enough for surgery. Thankfully enough, though, this was day #2 of her not coughing or sniffing. So we were good to go for surgery!

We had a great time in the dining area of our hotel. They were so accommidating to us & we were all so thankful to them!! Here are a few pictures from the night...

Brooklyn, Katie (Christine's daughter), & Cece with her mom (from Hong Kong - they are living at the Ronald McDonald house for over a year while Cece has her surgeries!!)

You can't have a big party & expect no one to get hurt. The person that got hurt at this particular party just so happened to be my child...of course! She was running around so much & making such sharp turns that the edge of the post just came & jumped right out in front of her!...

 She was ok though with a little ice...

 The Whole Group!!! starting from the bottom left are: me & Brooklyn, Maggie Mangold with Reid, Amie Moller with Zac, Christine Melton with Josh, Beth Nagel with Sully, & Dustin with Cali. The top row from the left are: Dr. Bruce Bauer, Eric & Cherry with Cece (from Hong Kong), the King Family, Adam & Katie Melton, Sylvia (an adult with a nevus who lives in the area), Stephanie (soon to be) Burmeister & her son, the O'Bryans (who were also there for surgery), Nadia & Roberto Carraro (from Canada) with their 2 kids (Taelor in stroller), & Reid Mangold's dad. Whew!!!!

And the 4 Amigos...Christine, Me, Beth, & Amie
It was SO fantastic to be there at the same time as these 3 wonderful ladies. The sad part about it though is that the next time we'll be together again will be July of next year for the Nevus Outreach conference, and then who knows after that. I wish we all lived closer...

It was SUCH a great night & I'm so glad that so many people were able to come!!! 

My Glamour Girl

Amie & Christine (both from AZ, both with sons who have nevi's, both with older daughters) told me a while back to keep Sunday morning open for me & Cali. They said they have a surprise for Cali...which I was super excited about. The night before Cali's big surprise I was told what it was...a make-over at Glamour Girlz. I'd never really heard about this place before, but it's like a tween haven! They go in, get dressed up in a sequin dress, have their hair, nails, & make-up done, & then get their pictures taken by their excited parents. LOL It was totally adorable.

So it was supposed to be Christine & her daughter, Katie, Amie & her daughter, Zoie, & then me & Cali. Unfortunately, Zoie had been feeling a little sick so her & Amie didn't get to come. (They did end up doing her makeover a couple days later though!!)

We got there & Cali, like I thought, was pretty apprehensive. She had NO clue what was going on so she held tight to mom. But thank goodness Katie was so in to it! That totally helped Cali warm up to the idea. Katie went first & put on a gold sequin dress, then had her hair, nails, & make-up done. Cali wouldn't do the dress, but she sat in the cute director's chair to get her stuff done. She insisted on having a death grip on my arm the entire time, but at least she did it! Here are a few pictures of our fun morning!!

Katie getting her nails done

Cali ready to begin!

Getting her hair done

Puttin her lips on :)

Getting the hair spray glitter

Getting her nails done

All done!!! (...being careful not to mess up her nails)

Pose & smile!


Cutie patooties

 Posing in front of the wall & dancing to the music

HUGE thanks to Amie & Christine for doing this for Cali & I. It was a ball & we both had loads of fun. We LOVED sharing our trip with you both!!