Category Archives: Health

Syndactyly



By now most people know Landon was born with his ring and middle fingers together to the tip and had surgery just before his 2nd birthday to have them separated.  

Warning!!   Some of these images can be graphic for people.  They aren’t bloody or anything just raw looking skin and stitches.


You can check out a bunch of pictures of Landon before the surgery Here on Facebook.

And Here is where I blogged about Landon’s actual surgery.

So what is this post about?  


Healing and recovery.



Just after surgery my little chicken looked like this:



For the first week we had this massive dressing.  As you can see, Landon was out being a kid within a day of his surgery.  Kids are awesome!  This isn’t to say he wasn’t in pain and he definitely wanted a lot more cuddles then normal.



But he adjusted to his new normal quite well. 



When we needed to do our own daily dressing changes it included aprox 10 minutes of soaking daily.  In comes the iPad to the rescue!!    The soak was two parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide.



His fingers were very swollen and pretty red along the zig zag incision line and skin graft area.  This one is a bit hard to see with all the water drips.  We would just shake his hand a little to get all the water off.



The most raw part was right down in the web where his skin graft was used {taken from the front inner hip}. He also had this bulb area around one knuckle and by his cuticles.  Landon is very pain tolerant so the dressing change did not bother him after the first two times when he didn’t like to look at it.  



The back view of his newly separated fingers.  His was called a complete simple syndactyly meaning his fingers were completely together to the tip and only affected his skin with no other soft tissue, nerve, cuticle, nails or bone involved.  It is a good kind of sydactyly to have if you have to have one.  :-)



We went to a whole hand covering for the 2nd week.   {No, he doesn’t always have an iPad.  I was taking pictures at the kids school and needed to keep him occupied.}



Do you ever reach that age where you think you don’t need extra clothes?  Yep, peed out so just wore a diaper.  Back to the hand..  He adjusted to his new dressing pretty well only pulling it off occasionally. 


We tried to go to an only finger dressing, but that came off super quickly every time.  After this we wrapped the fingers the most with a few wraps coming down over the palm and wrist to keep it all on.  Throughout this process we used a yellow gauze that was presoaked/covered in a petroleum jelly placed along the incision line then used white gauze to wrap the area and hand.  Over the gauze we either used tape or the stretchy stuff like they use when you give blood.  This was our favorite as it stayed well and went on easy.  It was pricier though.   The yellow guase kept his incision areas very moist for optimal healing.






We did get a bit of a scolding from the doc at our final appointment that we needed be putting lotion on his fingers each day to prevent the scars from getting to stiff and limiting his movement.   We have been doing this some.  Not as well as we should be.

Also, the doctor was in love with the good job he did and rightly so.  What a great doctor.  If you need any pediatric plastic surgery in the Raleigh Durham area definitely choose Doctor Jeffery Marcus.  He is wonderful.   As a word of warning, the first office visit will suck and be really late.  Just plan on it and you won’t be frustrated by a 2.5 hour wait and visit.



Saved by a friend while throwing feed to the ducks!  This kid used his hand with the bandages on and without as if his fingers were fine.



From the top it is already looking fab even back in late May just over a month post op.  The fingers are still pretty swollen here.



Then we also did a boo boo and didn’t put sunscreen on his hand when we went to Disney in May.  His fingers got a little sunburned.  Luckily it was minor and we learned our lesson.



Hi used his fingers independently as soon as those bandages came off.  He actually likes to stretch them apart quite often which is great for the healing process.  This means we don’t have to make him do it!!!



By the first of June the swelling is already down a lot.



This shot on the 4th of July shows how the scars are looking.  I’m very impressed.  As the overall redness went away we could clearly see the zig zag cut.  Each month the redness on the cut lines is getting less red.



Just a couple weeks after the top image his redness along the zig zag lines is even less.  The skin graft area in the web doesn’t show at all other then where the stitches were.



His fingers are also back to a normal size now at the 3 month post surgery mark.  YAY!



So from fingers that look like this just prior to surgery….  To 



Fingers that look like this in three months.   The road was not to bad even with a very active barely 2 year old who is definitely trying to exert his will whenever possible.   He is much more stubborn, opinionated and strong willed then the twins were combined!   This one and I will definitely have our battles as he grows and develops.  Yep Yep!!  But dang he is soooooo adorable and lovable.  It will all be worth it.   Wonder what he was thinking here?

The Purchase

We’ve had a crazy couple weeks.  There is all the normal life and business stuff going on, plus we had a twist thrown at us.  The Purchase!  It is something we have been planning to do for quite a while.  However, we weren’t planning on things happening so fast!!!

Today we signed a contract to buy our very first brand new construction home!!!!  Oh my.  It is sooooo exciting plus a whole truckload of other emotions all at once.

It all started a little over a year ago  few years ago.  My mom mentioned she was going to be retiring soon.  She mentioned she would probably spend time with both Tawni {my little sister} and us each year and need a bedroom at both of our places.  I think over time she realized that she would have a lot more comfort if she picked one of us to establish her primary residence with.  Her and Tawni have been living together for most of Tawni’s life, and we really really wanted her to come live with us.  I miss my mom a lot moving away from my home state.

Fast forward to within this last year and we firmed up plans for her to come live with us when she retires.  Our house is quite small so it definitely wouldn’t work long term.  We explored quite a few timelines of making the moves for all of us.  Our latest consensus was to wait until her official retirement to all find somewhere to live and move together.    Her retirement date is 12/31/13.   We’ve been casually looking at new home construction in our tiny take home car area for Guy’s work.  We also have some very not normal needs so finding a plan to work for us was really hard.  Looking at resale homes would probably not find us anything that would work in 5 years of looking.

I, being the inquisitive sort of planner, talked to our amazing real estate agents waaaay ahead of schedule to appraise them of our upcoming plans and get a feel for their thoughts.  We also found a community and plan that we all really liked.

Two weeks ago our agents informed me during an unrelated conversation we really should consider moving on it NOW.  ASAP.   Guy also saw a couple articles about how the new home construction in our area is projected to raise significantly over the next 12 months.

Uh oh…  So we regrouped.

That led us to today when we signed a contract for our very own brand new construction home!!!  So exciting.

Now we just need to sell ours.  Oh and my poor mom is having heart issues and need to get an ablation done next week along with new medication to treat her issues.  I feel so bad for her to be worried about signing contracts out of state and getting her home listed.

So I’ll be praying for my mama, getting our house ready to list soon along with amazing Sea Pines home listings, taking care of my little kiddos and working my tail off during the busy season.  :-) I have faith it is all going to work out better then ok and we’ll make it through with smiles continually on our faces.

1 week after surgery

Our Landon is showing all signs of being pain tolerant like his mama.  YAY!!  He’s only taking alternating doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen three times a day.

He had the big partial cast dressing up almost to his armpit for the first 6 days.  Yesterday we went in for his first dressing change.  Since I went by myself there are no images.  Guy was pretty bummed I didn’t at least get one of his hand completely free of bandages.  Guy really wanted to see what it looked like.

First off.  I’m going to complain a little.  The hospital wants a 5 out of 5 rating at every visit.  Hmmmmm.  Not gonna happen from me.  The waiting room and check in is ridiculously long.  I arrived just before my appointment time to find a 20 minute line.  There were two receptionists and a trainee who was only observing {no one spoke to her that I could see}.  It took them 20 minutes to check in the 6 people in front of me.  Wow, that is beyond slow.  You do have the option to check in online, but you still have to tell them your there waiting in the same line.  The first time we went there the check in was faster, but the doctor was over an hour and a half behind.  It is Duke hospital.   Ok  complaints over.  I’m perfectly willing to go through all this mess and drama for a doctor recommended by all the health professionals I know.  :-)

There were several adorable babies in line with us.  One little girl just turned 10 months.  She was a micro premie born at 1 pound.  This little girl was small, but she was on track with any 10 month old in skills and had no eye sight or other issues from being born so premature.  That is sooooo rare.  What a blessing for that family!!  The other little boy was two weeks older then Landon.  Of course, that meant we had the obligatory ‘size’ conversation.  People without little ones his age or who aren’t around kids his age generally take his age and it makes no impression on them.  For those who are around little ones his age they are usually utterly amazed and in disbelief.  It is funny to watch and then we go on to talk about where his height could possibly come from in our families.  :-)

Landon started demanding my iPad the moment we sat down in the waiting room.  We got called back surprisingly quickly.  He followed the iPad to the scale and then into his room.  We waited there for about 10 minutes.  The first step of the process was to unwrap the big bandage and take off the  partial cast giving it the hard structure.    He then soaked his hand in a bath of water and hydrogen peroxide.  I was informed later we would be buying many of those for our daily dressing changes coming up.  He soaked his hand for 25 minutes.

The doctor came in and pealed it off while Landon was doing his flighty iPad wanderings {the kid has a super short attention span sometimes often}.   His fingers didn’t look nearly as bad as I thought they would!  It was scabby around all the edges.  It was so incredibly strange to see two separate fingers!!!  It made my tummy flutter in excitement.  I wasn’t expecting that reaction at all.  So weird.  And it caused a dumb mom moment…

I told Landon to look at his fingers!  He looked and did not like!  Dr. Marcus nicely told me he didn’t like looking at it and to distract him.  lol  Dur….  Do I really highlight my hair now a days or is it really still blond?!!

He got a strip of yellow loose woven fabric around the incision lines then some padding between the fingers to keep them apart so the web heals properly.  Then there was some gauze wrapped around to the wrist and a piece of tape to hold it together.  Nice and simple.  Landon did not like it at first.  He was quite grumpy for several hours and also took a nap during the long drive back in addition to a normal afternoon nap.   He didn’t try to mess with it much yesterday.

We did get woken up at 4:00 am to him having taken every little bit of the dressing off!  Well, at least Guy got to see what it looked like.  He held Landon’s arm while I put his dressing back together with a new piece of stuffing gauze and a more robust piece of tape almost like a hard shell around his dressing.  He hasn’t tried to take it off again.

Here’s a phone pic of Landon this morning after dropping the twins off at school.

Our Friday with Blake

Blake is so energetic and funny!  He is constantly on the go most of his waking hours.

We had a great time on Friday after picking the twins up from school.  After lunch he played a few games on the iPad which included educational games for 10 minutes before any other games.  He and I played around the studio, and he was cracking me up with his new tongue sound shown here.



Blake thought this pose was especially funny and asked me to take a picture.  When daddy got home all the kids were excited to go with him to get gas for the lawn mower!  When they got back everyone sat down to eat the yummy pizza they brought home.  After dinner the kids were playing around the backyard while Guy mowed the lawn.



All of a sudden I hear Blake crying.  Normally, I wait a minute to see what is wrong.  This time I jumped up and ran outside to meet him on his way to the porch.  I could just tell he was really in pain.  He wasn’t moving his arm as he came toward me.  We hugged as he got control of himself and dealt with the pain.  I lifted his sleeve to look at his arm, but couldn’t see anything.  He could move everything but was unwilling to lift his arm.   Guy got around the yard stopping right in front of us giving me a look of “What IS wrong with him.”  He cut off the engine.



After we both looked him over we decided to wait a while to see how he feels.  Blake and I sat in the recliner watching TV, Maddie Mia and Landon came in with us, and Guy went to finish mowing the lawn.  Landon headed out the studio door not listening to me calling him back in.  A couple minutes later Guy comes in with him all banged up.  He had done a header on the deck trying to get through the small bottom screen door panel he was heading out of after busting it.



Blake didn’t seem any better so we decided to take him to the ER {Why do these things always happen on a weekend/evening?!?!}.  It was also voted that only he and I would go.  Based on our last experience, I was going much more prepared this time!  It took about 15 minutes to gather up snacks, iPads, my camera, a phone, jammies for him.   We decided not to give him any food or drink in case he needed to go under for any reason, but I wanted stuff on hand for him when they gave us the plan and for me if needed.  :-) Guy lovingly tucked his boy into the car seat then gave me a hard time for documenting us leaving.



We did make sure to grab Blake’s favorite teddy.


He was pretty upset about the thought of getting a shot at the doctors.   We also put him in the sling from when he broke his arm less then 12 months ago.  Yep, same arm!!  


On the drive he had control of his emotions most of the time, but he would get a bit upset from time to time. Once we arrived at Wake Med Childrens emergency entrance, I couldn’t believe how few parking places there were for the emergency department!  We circled for at least 10 minutes and looked across the street to no avail.  Once we finally secured a space Blake asked me to carry him in.  So I hooked on my handbag, my camera, the backpack and held the keys and my water cup as I had him stand in the doorframe for me to wrap my arm around his bum to pick him up.  By the time we made it up the stairs and incline his 49 pounds of adorableness were giving me quite the workout.



Inside the colorful lobby we talked to two really nice ladies at reception who helped us get checked in and assessed quickly.  The wait was about 20-30 minutes in the lobby.  Another lady wouldn’t let me take any pictures in the lobby.  Well, once we were in our room I could!!  lol



At home we had given him some children’s pain medication so he was doing pretty good managing his pain.  In fact, he wanted to play with some other kids jumping around a cool light show feature in the lobby.  In his exam room the nurse informed us they had already ordered an x-ray and did a quick assessment of him.   This was followed by a nice doctor a few minutes later.  Blake started off by watching some gold shows on TV then got all excited when I gave him an iPad.    I passed the time with a 20 minute workout {thankfully was already wearing my workout clothes when he got hurt}.















The x-ray room was really cool with the walls painted as deep space.  Blake was really digging the colorful planets and sparkly stars.  The actual x-ray process was pretty painful for him.  She let us look at the digital film as they came up.  Even to my untrained eye the nub end of his humorous bone was clearly cracked on the inside of the nub.  It almost looked to me like a small v shaped chunk was out of it.



The doctor came back to tell us he was having ortho look at the film and would let us know.  The nurse came in a short time later to give Blake some meds in case he needed surgery.  Then he came back a while later to say the plan is to soft cast him and follow up with an ortho doctor next week.  YAY!!  Two techs came in very soon after to cast him up.  Blake entertained them with his Atomic Fart app on the iPad.  They all got to giggling.  As they got him all bandaged up I was feeding my hungry little guy some yogurt and oranges.  He was feeling so pampered and happy.  


Once he was all fixed up and sporting the very oversized shirt the hospital gave him he posed for a few pictures.  








The ladies had asked him to do a karate chop with his good arm as part of fitting him for his soft cast.  So he incorporated that into his posing for me.  lol











The other new thing he learned was the rock on hand symbol.  


We left the hospital right after this shot at 9:00pm.  He got hurt right around 5:00pm and we got the hospital right around 6:00pm.  Not bad for an ER visit in my experience.  Blake entertained me all the way home with funny comments and observations.  What a trooper!  He also woke up the next morning with no desire for pain medication.  I did end up giving him some Saturday afternoon when he fell down on his arm though.  Since then he hasn’t wanted any more.  When they had asked him a pain level in the hospital he surprised me with his answer.  Much like me he tends to have a smile on his face more often then not.  Using the 1-10 and happy faces he put his pain at a 5-6 level though you wouldn’t know it by looking at him.  Good to know.

Growing up


Growing up.


At different times of my life these two words have had vastly different meanings.   The last few months I feel like I personally have grown up a lot.  Until someone in your own immediate circle like a similarly aged family member or very close friend has a life threatening event or dies I think we mistakenly feel like life is definitely going to be long.  When something happens so very close to you with someone you have spend important parts of your life with this outlook suddenly changes.  My ‘baby’ cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer around Christmas time.  We are only four years apart.  It seems like her outlook is good and the course of action will kick cancers butt.  There was still that initial reaction, plus the lack of guarantee her treatments will work for sure.  I have faith and hope the outcome will be wonderful.  I envision us doing our annual cruise together next year with the warm sun all around us as we tackle some fun new adventure or just explore along a beach.


{Amber with her youngest of 3 daughters}


But still…



Now I make more time for snuggling with the kids, and have made sure to cut off work to spend time with the family on days Guy is home.  We have always valued our family time.  We love to spend time together.  Playing with the kids making funny noises, chasing and tickles is a daily part of our life.  Hopefully, it is a daily tradition we can continue long after the normal age where kids do not like to be around their parents.



Because…



They are growing up.  Each of our children has gained much maturity of late.  The big kids carry on thoughtful conversations as they continually map out their world around them and how all of the pieces of life come together.  Our baby is losing his little baby face morphing into the cheeky toddler.



Madison still wishes to be a princess and marry a prince, but now she also wants to be a photographer as she is starting to recognize the value of work in life.  She is much more helpful around the house with less complaining too.  Every day she comes up with an outfit to wear based on her mood.  Sometimes I let the whacky tacky look be her suit of armor for the day.  Other times I coach her into a more pleasing match or weather appropriate outfit.  This girl is an artist who will draw image after image one after another for over an hour.  Each scene will have it’s own story or plot.  She loves to show of her work looking for glowing approval at her brilliance.



Blake is our responsible man in the making with a very emotional side.  He looks forward to waking early enough to crawl into bed with me and snuggle.  He offers to do the 30 second back scratch as a way to make mommy extra happy.  He’s also hoping mommy will rub his back for a while basking in the individual attention.  We lost him at Disney world in January.  We had Karissa watch the other kids as we each headed out in search of him.  Around the 15 minute mark our friend, Molly, found him happily chatting with a Disney employee.  He knew who to find once he couldn’t find us.  This was a fantastic moment for him to really show us how smart our little 4 year old is!   Blake is looking forward with single minded ness to being just like his daddy and tries to do everything the way he does.


Landon bug is a happy bug.   He has no interest in potty training much to my disappointment.  He will have no choice in July though!  :-)   The kid thinks babysitters are his own personal bonuses in life as he most often eagerly heads off with them.  This week he has been boinging around the house much like a little joey kangaroo.  Working with electronics must be his calling in life as I’ve never seen a kid so in love with anything phone, notepad, TV, movie or other electronic.  His brain is a homing device eagerly noticing and claiming the nearest electronic.  So far he has figured out how to work any electronic not password protected of ours plus any friend or clients have.  It’s quite amazing to watch him intuitively poke around devices as he gets the type of program he wants working.  We have ALL of ours password protected, but he still figures out how to get onto my emergency calling so he can activate the numbers screen.  The Wiggles are his very favorite show too.   Me thinks we are in trouble.








Its all the little and big moments in our lives.  Spending time with those that matter to us most is how we make life so very worth while.  Growing up isn’t so bad after all.  I know we’ll encounter more sorrow, more disappointment, more love, more laughter and more spiritual moments.  Each step of the way our lives will be enriched as will our compassion, knowledge, skills and love.