Fontan Pre-op Day

Derrick had a little anxiety this morning.

When we got out of the car he said, "I don't want to have surgery today."  We reassured him that today wasn't the day but he continued to ask questions about how long we would be here and when he could go home.  Once we made it up to Same Day some of that disappeared.  Thankfully.

Here's our pre-op day in pictures....blurry ones, but pictures nonetheless.

They had toys waiting on him when we walked in and we got the easy stuff over with first.  Blood pressure,
an x-ray then an echo.

He was a fantastic patient! Until it was time for the blood draw. As soon as he saw the nurses come for the blood he freaked. He cried the whole time they got their supplies ready and while they were looking for a vein. As soon as she stuck the needle in his arm he immediately stopped crying and just watched. He sat completely still and watched the whole thing. He later told us it didn't hurt at all! These ladies obviously knew what they were doing, and apparently he feels a lot more comfortable with being able to see what's happening to him.  Totally understandable and I have a mental note about that for next time he gets shots.  

After a morning full of procedures we were able to go to lunch.  Derrick insisted on his own slice of pizza.

And he shocked us by eating most of it!

Before we could open our ice cream we were called back upstairs to go for another scan.  Back when D had his first surgery his diaphragm was paralyzed.  It didn't require any intervention, and it wasn't mentioned at his 2nd surgery.  Apparently when he had his X-ray today one side of his diaphragm was higher than it should have been so they wanted a closer look to see what they would be dealing with.  When we walked in for the scan we were told we could watch through the window but couldn't go in. We get nervous. We told D what was happening and he went right to the nurse. (Total shocker, FYI!) he waved at us from the window and did exactly what they asked of him. He even got to watch his diaphragm moving up and down on the tv, which he thought was pretty cool!
He really shocked us with how big he was today!!  We know it was the prayers! Thank you!! That made the day so much easier!

We talked to the PA for a long time. She chatted with us for at least an hour.  It was so nice because we were able to ask a lot of questions and got a lot of reassurance from her. Derrick's Fontan has an extra complication because he has dextrocardia (the bottom half of his heart is backwards and points in the wrong direction).  Justin asked her about the additional complexity of it and she told him that she's been doing this for 20 years and has seen a lot of pediatric heart surgeons. She said Dr K is one of the best ones she's ever seen. :)  That gave us the comfort we were looking for. We also talked to anesthesia, another cardiologist that will be in the OR, a PCICU Fellow, Child Life Specialist, then Dr K. 

Dr K was very nice and very thorough.  He explained his plan and made sure we understood exactly what was going to happen. As he talked about the extra little complication we learned a little more. 

Here's the short story of the Fontan:
The inferior vena cava is connected to the pulmonary artery using a gortex conduit which then allows his lower body blood to have a way to get to his lungs.  Usually it's a pretty straight shot, but since D's heart is pointing in the wrong direction it's not as cut and dry. We assumed they would need a longer conduit and just go around his heart but we were wrong. They're actually going to go under his heart with the conduit instead.  This of course poses other risks because its possible for the heart to compress the conduit, which wouldn't allow blood to flow through, which would mean another trip to the OR.  Dr K said the complicated-ness wasn't common, but it wasn't like they haven't done it before. So...that's where we are. The added complication isn't comforting, but knowing that God will be in that OR guiding Dr K the whole time is all the comfort we need. He is the Great Physician and nobody gets better than that!

Yesterday we took d to ride go karts and since he had such a blast and was such a big boy today we took him again...followed by lots of sanitizing!
This is a picture of my camera because again I don't have Internet. Derrick is officially a thrill seeking junkie. He LOVED it! He told my mom tonight that he was asking Santa for a go-kart for Christmas. Ha!   

We ended the night with some yummy seafood with the grandparents where D officially proclaimed that he will NOT be going to surgery tomorrow, he will he going home. Overall it was a good day.  Nerve-wrecking, but as good as it could be.  Minus the part where d says he's not showing up...that may be a bit of a complication. :)

Before I give you specific prayer requests I have to share my girl, who I miss terribly. She's at home with "Uncle Gramps and Aunt Mimi" and is enjoying getting spoiled. She's been decorating and doing yard work.
We talked to her earlier and hearing her say, "I miss you" broke my heart! I miss that girl like crazy.  

Specific prayer requests for tomorrow:

That surgery goes well and there are no complications.

That Derrick doesn't have anxiety tonight or in the morning, and he continues to handle this like the champ he is.

That we will all be at peace tomorrow and are at least able to hold back the tears until after we hand him over. I don't want to add any stress to him by crying, but I'm about to hand my baby over for a risky open heart surgery where they will actually stop his heart for several hours.  I have over active tear ducts. It won't he easy for me to keep them under control.

That our friends and family who are traveling tomorrow will get here safely.

That JK handles all of this well. I know she'll be in great hands, but it's not what and who she's used to.  We miss her like crazy and I know she misses us, especially her bubba.

Jk had a cough last night so please pray that it goes away so she can come visit us on Friday.

I think that's it for now. My brain isn't working.  I'm sure there's more but this should cover most of the big stuff.  You know how to pray much better than I can tell you anyway.  Thank you all for the messages, calls, texts and everything else.  We are only as comfortable about this as we are because we can feel your prayers. We appreciate that more than you'll ever know! 

We have to be at the hospital by 6 so the grands can see D before he goes back around 6:30. We will get updates from the OR hourly and I'll post them here as we get them.  I can't promise they'll come via email each time, so you may want to check back here every so often if you want up to date info.  :)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


It's Here.

Wow.  It's Fontan Eve Eve.  How did September end so quickly!?  I'm pretty sure we skipped a few days in there somewhere!  A friend asked me a few days ago if this week was flying by.  It's insane how quickly the past two weeks have passed. I have never in my life wanted to stop time so badly.  But then at the same time if I could hit fast forward I would do that too.  We've been so busy lately that there really hasn't been a lot of time to wallow in the emotions of what's coming. I guess that's a good thing? 

This afternoon we loaded up the car, said  'see ya later' to our sweet girl, and headed to Charleston with the little guy.  We're at our home away from home snuggled up on bean bags watching VeggieTales.  

We don't have internet so this is short and sweet but If I didn't update a little I'd be getting calls and texts, so this is for y'all. :)  we made it safely to Charleston, had a fantastic evening with Derrick, and are hitting the hay soon to rest up for a looooog day of pre-op fun at the hospital tomorrow.  I have lots of pics to share from our day but I can't get them off the computer so they'll have to wait until tomorrow. 

Until then, we ask for your prayers for a good day tomorrow without a lot of anxiety for Derrick. He is starting to get a little nervous.  Tomorrow should be pretty painless other than the blood draws that we haven't told him are coming yet. We will, ahead if time, but it's not worth stressing him out until we have to.  So please pray for him to handle tomorrow like the champ he is, and please also pray that we feel confident and comfortable with his surgeon.  Dr Hsia, who has touched his heart twice, moved right after the last surgery.  We're handing him over to someone new on Tuesday and I'd like to feel that same level of comfort we had with Dr Hsia. 

Thank you, friends, for loving our boy, and for loving us. It's incredible the amount of support we have received over the past two weeks.  We are blessed for sure.  Thank you!!


Surgery #1 For the Carter Boys....Justin's Turn

I just sent my man back for his surgery.

He should be back within the next hour and a half or so and hopefully we'll be headed home by around 3:00.  I can handle surgeries like this!

Before we left this morning JK had a request.

Daddy is the nail tech around here and it's JK's favorite thing to have him do with her.  Jenny Kate has pretty much had painted nails since Christmas and I've done it once.  He doesn't realize it, but he's creating a monster.  She'll be sweet talking him into pedicures at the salon for the two of us before we know it! :)

Looking at these pics you can see what's been keeping us busy lately.  New floors!  We've been waiting for these since we bought the house three years ago.  Yay!  But oh, they haven't come without their share of baggage.  As we Justin and his dad were tearing out the tile in the kitchen to prepare for the new floors.... 

we found a surprise.  MOLD.  And then when we tore up the old laminate in the dining room guess what we found?  MOLD.  Ugh!  

Thankfully, the problem was coming from where the original owners added on the garage.  Rain was running right in and eating away the OSB.  Isn't it lovely?
 That's an outside view of the dining room.  All that was done was pull the siding off and we had this beautiful view.  Apparently shortly after our house was built it became code to wrap a house in waterproofing.  Unfortunately, they didn't feel the need to wrap this one.  Guess who will be?!  I mean, I wanted to replace the siding but....!!  

Thankfully the only places we've found it are the kitchen and dining room, and it's been a relatively small area that was repaired by our dads in one day.  I'm pretty sure ever since we bought this house my dad has been regretting he's good at construction.  :)  We're also very thankful that we found the mold and the problem, because it could have been really bad.  

My dad asked me why in the world we chose to do all of this right now.  Legit question.  We ordered the floors two MONTHS ago and they arrived a little over a week ago.  I'll admit I'm usually nesting before surgery, but typically you'd find me rearranging my kitchen cabinets, not completely destroying the entire house.  I mean, we couldn't let the floors just sit in a big pile in our house and wait for life to slow down.  We're both slightly impatient and that just couldn't happen. 

Our hope is that Justin feels well enough after today's surgery to get back at it soon.  He can sit and snap in floors! ;)  We only have the dining room, kitchen and pantry left and the goal is to have it all finished, cleaned, and completely put back together by next Wednesday.  All while Justin hobbles around on one foot.  We want to be able to snuggle and play Candy Land and whatever else our kiddos want to do until we leave for D's surgery on Sunday.  It will happen, I guarantee it!

On another note, today is our first official day of isolation (as Justin and I are at the hospital...I know!).  D got his flu shot yesterday and was crying of a headache last night and this morning.  Please pray for him.  I'm hoping its a combo of the shot and the dust that's bothering him and that he's back to normal by tonight or in the morning.  The thought of him being sick right now makes me nauseated and want to curl up in a ball and cry!

I'll update on our hobbling man later ! :)  



Chasing Rainbows and Other Randomness

I was going through my phone pics and decided it was time for a photo dump.  A few things that were randomly on my phone that I don't want to forget...

I was asked to speak at one of our local electric co-op meetings several weeks ago.  Have I ever mentioned I'm not a public speaker?  At all?  But I did it because I love and believe in Hope for BraveHEARTS.  They were very kind (and generous!) and I made it through without sobbing, so I took it as a win. 

It poured down rain as we were getting there and on the way home we saw the most beautiful rainbow.  I really wanted the kids to see it, so we chased it.  There were points on the road where it was so vivid but Derrick never could catch a glimpse.  We finally made it to a gas station where I got him out to look at it and we caught the last little bit of it fading away.  He never really did see it, so we came home and looked up pics online so he would know what a real rainbow looks like for next time.  They both still talk about seeing rainbows on the computer.  Sometimes D even prays to see a rainbow at his house.  :)

You can barely see it in this picture, but it's there.

And the other randomness...

I just love this boy.

We went to the grocery store and picked up a special treat. :)

Our reward for going to the gym on Friday mornings is stopping for a smoothie afterward.  These girls are now 'Island Green Spinach and Kale' junkies. 

We've had lots of birthday parties lately.  A party at the splash pad

with an icee is super fun.

The next day we had an airplane party complete with aviators and a pilot's license,

and all the girls loved the birthday boy's new wheels.  They couldn't get enough!

Derrick was at another party while we were at the plane party, so he enjoyed chillin in his glasses once we got home. 

My favorite people in the whole wide world.

We went through a monsoon season for a minute.  These two love strolling in the rain (as they fight over who will hold the umbrella!).

Andy, the subject of JK's photography work.

Dips in the pool have slowed down some for me, but cooler water doesn't stop these two!  Or should I say three?  We can't keep Andy out of the pool either. 

CoverPalooza....80's style

You can't really see the crimped hair and blue eye shadow, but it was there!

It was fun getting all dressed up, but ranked right up there with one of the most embarrassing nights of my life.  We were told "everybody" would be dressed 80's.....ummmm....nope.  Let's just say we got lots of attention.  OMG. 

While we went out the kids spent the night with my parents.  I went to go pick them up and Andy insisted on going.  This was his seat of choice.

After picking them up guess where we went?  Another birthday party!! 

A super cute pirate party for our sweet friend Parker.  I hate I didn't get a pic of the birthday boy and my kiddos.  We sure do love him!

Pirate booty.

They had pirate ship rice crispy treats.  So cute!  (and yummy!!)

After that (whoa this was a looooong day!) we went to a concert at church.  OBB and Stellar Kart came.  It was awesome and we have some new favorite songs.  The little kids loved being right there at the stage but I was really worried about their hearing!  Derrick is literally one step away from the speaker and it was rock band concert LOUD!  I had to keep asking him to back up. 

They danced, and danced, and danced.  It was absolutely precious to watch my babies and their little friends dance and enjoy themselves so much!

We loved both bands.  It was fun watching the high school girls watching these guys.  :)

Derrick is now obsessed with Stellar Kart's version of "Kiss the Girl."  Yes, from the Little Mermaid.  It really is awesome!

Whew, that made me tired!  Next up...what we've crossed off the bucket list.