Monday, August 1, 2011

Chicago Surgery Trip, Part 1: The Drive

Well it's here. Surgery #3 has come. To refresh everyone's memory...

One "round" is considered 2 surgeries...putting in the expanders & then taking them out. We need 2 rounds plus a final "fix-it" surgery. Surgery #1 was putting in the 2 tissue expanders. That surgery was 1/6/11. She had the 2 forehead/scalp expanders.

11 weeks later we had surgery #2 (3/24/11), where Dr. Bauer removed the expanders & was miraculously able to remove 80% of Brooklyn's nevus! Then we got a much-needed 4 month waiting/resting period.

So surgery #3 is the beginning of round #2, where Dr. Bauer will insert another tissue expander (this time though, she'll only have 1 instead of 2) & I'll fill her expander, weekly, with saline for 11 weeks. Then in surgery #4, which will be on 10/27/11, Dr. Bauer will remove that expander & the remaining 20% of her nevus. After 19 1/2 months she'll be nevus free...for the first time in her little life!!! But for now...we have to get to Chicago!

We decided to leave on Saturday, July 30th for Chicago. This was a "special" trip this time because this was the only trip, out of 5 trips, that we'll be there in nice weather. How on earth I planned it that way, I have no idea! I mean, think about it: January...crappy weather; March...crappy weather; August...awesome weather; October...getting cold, possibly snow; & Feb/March...crappy weather! COME ON!!! For someone who hates the cold, I sure didn't plan this right!!!!! Anyways, lucky for me, we needed to be there early for this surgery. So after we checked in with the doc we were able to have another "forced vacation" just like we did in January. I call it a "forced vacation" because we are required to be in Chicago but we're not really doing anything between appointments, so we're "forced" to vacation! :o) Fine by me...

We ended up leaving town around 11:30am on Saturday, the 30th. Since we had to have some extra time there, my parents decided to take their annual vacation WITH us! So they came to Chicago too. It was so neat going with all 8 of us (Dustin, me, the girls, my parents, & my brothers). We followed each other the whole way to Chicago. The first night we stayed the night in Wibaux, MT. Yeah, folks, Wibaux, MT. For those of you who know MT...this is pathetic. For those of you that don''s the story: Wibaux, MT is like population 800. It's such a small town just about as far east of the state as you can go before crossing into ND. When we were getting close to crossing the border into ND I started checking my phone for places to stay. Originally, we wanted to make it to Bismarck, which is about 1/2 way through the state. No places to stay....NONE at ALL! So I checked Dickinson, which is about 1/3 of the way through the state. No places to stay...NONE at ALL! I did find 2 rooms available in Jamestown, which is about 2/3 of the way through the state...and about 6 hours from where we were. Not one of us were interested in being in the car until 1am, so we checked Wibaux & lo & behold...they had rooms at their one motel! They were outrageously priced for what we got, but we had to take it. So needless to say, our first day wasn't as great as we'd hoped.

Oh the sacrifices I go through being the little sister (Cali forcefully "gave" Brooke all her movies!!) 

Cali singing her "I'm Not Forgotten" song

Day #2 we woke up & I believe were on the road by 9:30'ish, which I was pretty impressed with, since I was still sooooo sick. (I got my fever back the night before when we were at dinner in the lovely town of Wibaux, then again right as we were getting to bed. I was so hot I could have fried an egg on my forehead.) Anyways, we got in to ND which was a first for me & the girls...add another state to my list!!! We drove, & drove, & drove...all the way to St. Cloud, MN, where we stopped for the night. Like I said earlier, I'm actually typing this a few weeks later so I don't remember any details, but it was pretty uneventful.

I think Brooklyn's pretty much fed up with being in the car... 

Cali will do anything to keep herself occupied!!

We got up on Day #3 & made it to our Home-Away-From-Home....The StayBridge Suites in Lincolnshire, IL at about 5'ish PM. I really do mean home-away-from-home because our hotel is seriously THE best. They have a free coffee bar, the staff has gotten to know us, we feel SO at home, they have a free coffee bar, free pool open 24 hours, free - yes FREE - laundry, free fitness center open 24 hours, oh, and did I mention a free coffee bar?! They are VERY reasonable priced for what you get. You can't beat it... Seriously...I've looked around for better deals & this is IT! Not to mention, we've gotten TONS of other families to stay there & they all love it too. This trip we got double points for our Priority Club so possibly, just possibly, our 5th & final trip's hotel may just be paid for with our points.
Home for 11 nights in room 110...

Of course, it wouldn't be a proper hotel stay if the kids didn't get to go swimming. So that's just what they did. I stayed back for a little bit to unpack while Daddy, Opa, & Uncle Curt took Mike, Cali, & Brookie swimming. Here's Cali...just loungin by the pool with her swim diaper on!!

Off to bed now because tomorrow is a doctor's appt & then fun!!!

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