Procedure Today

Sam will have an endoscopy and bronchoscopy this afternoon. This procedure was planned to be outpatient at another location before Sam was hospitalized. The only fact we know right now, is that his ENT (ear, nose, and throat) will be there to do the bronchoscopy. We don’t know yet if another pediatric GI (tummy) doctor will do the endoscopy or his GI doctor. I’m hoping and praying his GI doctor will be able to be in on the procedure and his surgeon, as this was the original plan. There isn’t a GI doctor we don’t know here, and I’m confident in all of their abilities, and there’s comfort in having the one who knows him best in the OR (operating room) with him.

Sam is doing really well and I’m trying to keep him as occupied as possible. We are very thankful for Child Life services. He has way too much iPad time when we are here, but I have to let that go and am very thankful for it. We just might have to do some iPad weaning when we get home.

I had my second PICC line training and am feeling much better about that. When the trainer told me the pump and his TPN (nutrition) will all go into a backpack Sam will wear, she…made…my…year. I was envisioning we would have to follow Sam around the house with an IV pole. Imagine my concern with that and the combination of the Energizer Bunny and the Tasmanian devil. We don’t get that luxury while we’re in the hospital, but boy am I thankful for it when we go home!

It sounds like they are working on getting his TPN down to twelve hours a day. Once he’s stable on the twelve hours for a couple of days, we can break out of jail! I’m hoping and praying this will be before Thanksgiving. High hopes, low expectations.

Prayers for a miracle that all of Sam’s doctors will be able to be at the procedure today. Prayers for wisdom and discernment for whoever is in the OR with him. Prayers we will make it out of here before Thanksgiving!

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

The Plan

Ready for surgery!

Sam’s PICC line procedure went well, as we expected it would. He recovered great.

He’s been doing really well, but these four white walls get very boring, very fast for a curious, busy little boy. When the doctors ask what Sam is like when he’s healthy, I tell them he’s a combination of the Energizer Bunny and the Tasmanian devil. They always think that’s funny, but I’m actually not kidding. He’s not quite there yet, but we’re getting really close.

We love when Music Therapy comes and when Child Life brings new toys or other things to try keep Sam busy. We also improvise a lot, like playing in the sink for a while, coloring with crayons on the crib sheet, making a fort with the crib, ‘taping’ the walls with med tape, etc.

We’ll be stuck here until I’m done with the PICC line teaching and they get his TPN (nutrition) figured out. I had my first teaching today and will have another one on Sunday. We’ll be out on Monday, but have to go to St. Paul for his procedure that was scheduled a while ago. Then hopefully home Monday night!

That was the plan until it got changed again. Ugg. After that plan changed and my PICC line teaching this morning, I had a moment. Sometimes you just need a good cry. The bad news of having to stay longer and being overwhelmed with going home with a PICC line came crashing on my heart all at once.

In between the moments a friend sent me this.

AS YOU LOOK at the day before you, you see a twisted, complicated path, with branches going off in all directions. You wonder how you can possibly find your way through that maze. Then you remember the One who is with you always, holding you by your right hand. You recall My promise to guide you with My counsel, and you begin to relax. As you look again at the path ahead, you notice that a peaceful fog has settled over it, obscuring your view. You can see only a few steps in front of you, so you turn your attention more fully to Me and begin to enjoy My Presence.

The fog is a protection for you, calling you back into the present moment. Although I inhabit all of space and time, you can communicate with Me only here and now. Someday the fog will no longer be necessary, for you will have learned to keep your focus on Me and on the path just ahead of you.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. —PSALM 73:23–24

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. —PSALM 25:4–5

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. —1 CORINTHIANS 13:12

Text From a Friend


The floodgates of tears came crashing after reading that. It was exactly what I needed in that exact moment. God continues to sustain me. It’s hard for me not to bring up my faith in these moments, because that is where all of my strength comes from.

The PICC line teaching felt like a lot. The nurses keep telling me if you can do a trach, you can do a PICC line. Very true. I still have another teaching and am incredibly thankful for home care nursing. I’m hoping, and guessing, I’ll feel better after another teaching. I got this!

The new plan is to go from here to the St. Paul campus for Sam’s endoscopy with his GI doctor and surgeon, then a bronchoscopy with his ENT. We have to stay a few nights in St. Paul until the pharmacy gets his TPN (nutrition) figured out for at home. Bummer. They tried to switch the procedure on Monday to Minneapolis, but couldn’t find any open OR (operating room) times.

Every time I have a minute to write, the plan changes! And now another new plan. They were able to get an OR time here so we will not have to transfer to St.Paul!!! Although we will need to be here for four to six more days for them to figure out his TPN (nutrition), not having to transfer to another hospital was the best news!!!

Prayers the plan will not change unless it involves us going home sooner. Prayers they can get his TPN figured out soon. Prayers for continued wisdom and discernment for Sam’s doctors. Prayers for healing for Sam’s gut. Continued prayers for peace, comfort, and strength for us.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

The Procedure

Everything went well with the procedure yesterday. Sam’s esophagus was dilated (stretched) and this time, the doctor was able to pass the scope farther down. The last time, they were not able to get the scope through. Progress.

Generally, when Sam wakes up from anesthesia, he’s a champ. Not this time. Thankfully, he has been fever free and breathing on his own, but is pretty miserable and lethargic. We are hoping this is a combination of the RSV and being put under. It also doesn’t help he his culture showed he has a tracheitis on top of everything, which is not surprising for Sam.

He seems to be tolerating the Pedialyte we started yesterday. We are holding onto that!

Prayers he will tolerate his formula when we start it today. Prayers he will stop spitting and start swallowing. Prayers he will turn the corner today and we can go home!

Sam Strong!

Faith Over Fear!

Good News

Sam isn’t doing great, but he’s been off the oxygen most of the day and has no fever. As long as he behaves himself, they will do the procedure (esophageal dilation) tomorrow!

These kind of things are a balancing act when it comes to medically complex kids. It often comes down to a risk benefit analysis. And there are so many factors involved. We are incredibly blessed with the care team Sam has when we are here. It is evident they care so much about our sweet little boy, want to get him better and back home where he belongs.

The smiles are few and far between, but he did sit up a few times today and even played for a couple of minutes. We’ll take it! So far, it’s looking like everyone is wrong about the getting worse before getting better. They are going to be wrong.

Prayers for an uneventful evening for Sam. Pray he can continue to breath on his own and stay fever free. Prayers for the procedure tomorrow and all who will care for him.

Thank you for all the love and continued support for our family. We are truly blessed.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

He Made It

It was a rough weekend, but he made it. He’s been needing some oxygen support, but we still have room to go up. Nice job, my little warrior.

Now, prayers for his procedure today! Pray for the doctor involved. She knows Sam, but is not his primary GI doctor, which isn’t unusual for Sam when he is having a dilation. Pray for the anesthesiologist and the rest of the team who will care for Sam. Pray for no complications and that we’ll be able to come home today. Pray there is an easy fix and nothing else is going on. Pray for peace and continued strength for all of us.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

Prayers to Stay Home

They were able to schedule Sam’s next procedure with his GI doctor, surgeon, and ENT for November 21st. Unfortunately, his little esophagus is seeming like it won’t wait that long.

After this last hospital stay, Sam’s respiratory doctor agreed it would be a good idea to keep him out of school until his next procedure. I get it. As much as I want Sam in school, I think the risks outweigh the benefits at the moment. We don’t need anything else on top of what’s going on medically.

Sam is really miserable right now, but we are home. His symptoms are indicating he needs another dilation. Hopefully, that’s all it is.

We called the weekend, on call GI doctor. Thankfully, instead of telling us to take him to the emergency room, she got him on the surgery schedule for Monday morning. I cannot tell you how happy I was about that. My heart was really dreading another hospital stay.

For whatever reason when Sam needs a dilation, he doesn’t tolerate his feeds. We are running Pedialyte at the lowest rate possible to hopefully keep him hydrated enough until Monday morning and avoid a hospital stay.

Please pray Sam will tolerate the Pedialyte and be able to stay home until Monday. Pray there is nothing else going on. This poor little boy could really catch a break.

Prayers for our stamina as we are tired. This fall has been hard. Prayers to calm our hearts as questions and concerns are hard to push aside right now.

I’m thankful to believe in a God who loves my little boy even more than I do, and that He will comfort and sustain all of us.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

Nothing Definitive

His CT scan didn’t show much, but his esophagus did raised some concerns. Shocking. GI will do an endoscopy and hopefully ENT, a bronchoscopy, if they can find someone.

Praying for answers, an easy fix, healing, the anesthesiologist, the doctors, the medical staff, a smooth and quick recovery.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

The things that keep a mama going while living in the hospital with her child…

The other day when we came upstairs to the unit from the ED, the first nurse we saw coming out of the elevator said, “Sam, you’re back!” We went around the corner, and another nurse, yells, “Sam!”. I didn’t know whether to cry or smile with endearment. I had both emotions. Overall, endearment though.

The encouraging text.

A nurse who tells the lab tech, “When he’s feeling good, he has the best smile. A smile that will make you smile no matter what.”

The messages of comfort on my posts.

The nurse who had us four days ago, coming to check in on Sam and said, “I’m sorry you are still here. I hope they can figure things out and get you home quickly.”

Watching Sam give the tiniest glimpse of a smile only to his sister on FaceTime.

Other nurses who’ve had Sam in the past stopping in to say “Hi”, check on him, and sometimes me.

Eye Surgery Update

Except for his PTSD when we walked through the second set of double doors, Sam’s eye surgery went well. The genuine kindness and enthusiasm from the many who know him in surgery is definitely helpful. The tummy portion didn’t yield any answers, but we were able to get his feeding tube changed, which is always a bonus to get this done under anesthesia.

After Sam came out of recovery, the anesthesiologist stopped by to check on him. She commented Sam was doing much better than most kids do after this surgery. Yeah, he’s one tough little boy.

He was really miserable the first night, but has been doing really well since. The medical world never ceases to amaze me. It’s so crazy what they can do. We noticed right away, Sam’s right eye is straight!

We got a good laugh the next day when he hopped off the couch after his morning nebs and meds routine, pointed to his eye, shouting “Eye!”, in the funny way he says it, and started running. He often runs circles around our center island in our kitchen. He started his run and kept bouncing off the cupboards. Again, he noticed something was different. We couldn’t help laughing at what looked like a ball in a pinball machine.

One of Sam’s home care nurses said, he’s a reminder that things could be so much worse. He goes through so much and stays so happy all the time. Well said.

Sam Strong

Eye Surgery Tomorrow

Sam will have his first eye surgery tomorrow. The hope is this will fix both eyes and he will only need the one surgery. He will also have a scope to look at his esophagus (endoscopy).

The ophthalmologist doing the surgery explained, “Often there are kids who have one lazy eye that needs surgery to be corrected, sometimes there are kids who have two lazy eyes that need surgery to be corrected, and rarely, are there kids who have two lazy eyes and nystagmus that need to be corrected with surgery.” Yep, that sounds like Sam.

As always, pray for his doctors, nurses, anesthesia team, and anyone else involved. Pray for a smooth and quick recovery for Sam. Pray for a successful eye surgery and answers to our seemingly never ending digestive issue questions. Pray peace for our hearts.

Sam Strong!

Procedures

Overall, Sam’s procedures went well. When we checked in, there was gal training, the receptionist told her, ”Sam is a frequent flyer here.” He put on the charm for the gal training and she was, of course, taken, ”That smile,” she said. “He just made my day.” Yeah, he does that.

The PTSD unfortunately kicked in way before we saw the purple pj’s. As soon as we walked through the second set of automatic double doors, he knew exactly where we were. Poor buddy, became instantly stressed, but made sure he brought on the charm for a few minutes to show off how, he knew without being told, to step on the scale and then pointed to the place on the wall where he would get measured. He bounced off the scale and stood under the wall chart to be measured. Many familiar faces said, ”Hi Sam!” in the process.

The purple pj’s came into play now. The stress level was pretty high at this point. So thankful for the nurse who thought of and agreed to wait for the Versed to kick in until we put on the dreaded purple pj’s. Later, the anesthesiologist said, ”Just leave him in his diaper!” That’s exactly what we did, even after the Versed kicked in.

“I know what’s about to happen to me and I don’t like it.”

Oh boy do I love and hate Versed all in one. It takes Sam’s stress away almost instantaneously, but also makes him really loopy, which can be a little creepy to watch your baby experience.

The MRI results we don’t know yet and the ENT portion went well. Sam’s ENT is a bit new to us. He was very excited to look inside Sam’s airway as he hasn’t yet seen it. He confirmed Sam has a Type II Laryngeal Cleft. Shoot, it’s still there. Sam’s previous ENT is getting close to retirement and moved to Arizona to help start a new program. Although we were very sad to loose him, the transition has gone very well. His new ENT trained closely, and is on a first name basis with the Sam’s doctors in Cincinnati. Bonus.

We felt like a deer in headlights with the GI portion, but for the most part, we got it all sorted out the next day. Unfortunately, they placed a gj-tube in Sam again, which is a more complicated type of feeding tube then Sam’s had for a while. Sam did not need to be dilated and there weren’t any clear anatomical answers for his GI concerns. We will wait for the biopsy results.

“Glad that’s over.” He didn’t even seem to notice how they snuck on the the purple p.j.’s during surgery.

Now let’s hold onto our seatbelts, and pray nothing holds us back from getting on that airplane next week! The planning and preparation for traveling with a kid like Sam is insane, but what a privilege. Thanks to our friend who nominated us in 2019, the MN Vikings, and the Best Christmas Ever, we’re spending Christmas on the beach!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!