Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Blur That Has Been Our Recent Life...

After my last post in the beginning of June, the following happened:

We spent the last weekend of June in Sonoma celebrating a family wedding (pictures in a minute) while we (FINALLY) got a brand new roof on our house (literally 2 WEEKS before our summer monsoons began - THANK GOD).

The week after we dropped a small fortune on a new roof, our water heater burst on the 4th of July (YAY! just kidding) leading to complete disarray of our home as we were finally given that kick in the you-know-what to actually embark on the home renovations/improvements that we have wanted to do since moving into our home 7 years ago, but then kids were born, and time got away from us, yada yada yada.

So finally (what day is it?), 3 months since the infamous water heater incident, our home is finally our home again, and we are back to our (somewhat) normal selves. Did I forget to mention that somewhere in the middle of all the home craziness, Quincy started Kindergarten, and Paloma had emergency abdominal surgery on Labor Day? Yeah, I left that out but I will get back to it.

First, let's start with some pretty pictures.

These were (of course) taken by the professional photographer, and I am so grateful to her for capturing some really beautiful moments that sometimes get overlooked. It meant so much to Solon and me to spend this time with my Dad's side of the family in such a beautiful setting. My Dad's cousin Lucy, and her husband Bob, really planned a magical weekend for their loved ones, and it meant everything to be included in such a fantastic party! We had a blast!!! And I LOVE seeing two families come together - especially two GREAT ones.

When we got back we were able to celebrate two of our favorite ladies

Gaga's Birthday

And Mama Mimi's Birthday

My Aunt Nancy came to visit and our cousin Tommy lives here now, so it added another fun dynamic to our usual Jacobs crew. And I love when my "foodie" aunt comes to visit, because it means I get to spend my visits with her trying new places around town. Win-Win-Win!

July consisted of swim lessons

Playdates with friends

Extra time with their great-great Grandma

August brought a surprise road-trip to Manhattan Beach

First Day of Kindergarten

Donovan's 2nd Birthday

First day back at Preschool

My 35th Birthday

And a surprise 70th Birthday party for Charissa's Dad (I made him this cake - so fun!)

Then this happened...

After complaining all day of being tired, and her stomach "not feeling too good", throwing up, and then sharp stomach pains, I looked up her symptoms in one of my parent resource books, and they all pointed to appendicitis. At this point, it was 11pm the night before Labor Day, so I took my pediatrician's advice and took her straight to Phoenix Children's Hospital.

After she threw up green bile, and the ultrasound tech took 55(!) pictures, Paloma had a CT scan at about 3am because they found something and it wasn't her appendix. I knew right then and there that our daughter would have surgery that day. The doctor who was there overnight wouldn't tell me really anything because she wanted the daytime staff to get there to explain it better to me. By 8am, I was sitting with my mom and a pediatric surgeon who was explaining what this giant growth was that covered her whole abdomen in the CT scan imaging. Solon was on his way to the hospital with Quincy and I tried to retain as much information as I could, but all I knew was by the time he got there, Solon would literally have 10 minutes with his daughter before we trusted a complete stranger with our daughter's life and well-being. The surgeon truly didn't know what he was going to find until he was in there - a scan can only say so much. The next FOUR hours were excruciating. They would tell us nothing until she was being closed up. The only thing we got at the half-way point was "she's doing great." I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I felt so weak, helpless, broken. At one point, I looked over at Solon and I saw his heart breaking with worry for the unknown. (Cancer? Long-term problems? Will her spark still be there when she comes out?) It made me wish for my strength back so I could pass it on to him. It was in that desperate moment that I took to social media, asking my friends from near and far to pray for our little girl. The amount of love and support we received from that point forward was another first for me. See, I have a hard time asking for things, like help. But it was overwhelming for us to realize just how much people were willing to give in our time of need. Something I will never forget. EVER.

That smile brought me to tears the next morning. My poor baby was STARVING after literally not eating anything for almost 48 hours. She was so happy to have popsicles for breakfast.

So, here's the gist of what happened to Paloma: She had a tiny piece of intestine that grew outside of itself at birth (like a conjoined twin of sorts) and had been slowly filling with fluid over the course of her life, turning into 2 cysts. They were malleable over that time, filling into whatever empty spaces they could as they grew. On Sunday, the cysts finally ran out of room and started pushing her intestines into her other organs, causing the abdominal pain. One cyst was filled with milky white liquid (made up of white blood cells, fat, etc), the other filled with green bile. The doctor drained them and then removed a 5cm piece of her intestines, then sewed the intestines back together.

Each day she got better and stronger

By Thursday, we were able to take her home (with benign pathology results!) and be a family again.

I am so thankful for our family (ALL OF YOU!!) and friends/community who were able to be there for us. My mom who was there for me every second until Solon could get there, and my mother-in-law who hopped on a plane from Seattle while Paloma was in the OR, so she could be in Phoenix that night. Each and every one of you gave us strength and filled our hearts with love.

I cannot say enough good things about Phoenix Children's Hospital. What a FABULOUS place filled with awesome doctors, nurses, volunteers and staff - they took such good care of our girl - it really is an amazing place. And thank you God, for hearing our prayers, and the prayers of all who love our family - they surrounded us with the strength we needed. We are forever grateful.

In the weeks that followed, Paloma returned to school, Quincy's routine got back to normal, and we slowly got our house back together.

Quincy is thriving in Kindergarten. He is always eager to please his teacher by making the right choices. He works hard to get his green star everyday. He is making friends, even with kids outside of his class, and he just loves it. I am already amazed at how much he has grown in just 9 weeks.

Paloma is sassier than ever.

She has had two follow-up appointments (one with her surgeon, one with the oncology department) which are protocol post-surgery, and the next steps before we can put her whole ordeal behind us is a CT scan in December to make sure 100% there is no debris leftover from the surgery in her abdominal cavity. After that, an ultrasound every 4 months to be safe until the oncology department is satisfied that there is no regrowth, and we can move on with our lives.

In the meantime, we are enjoying October and the beautiful weather that we live in AZ for. Looking forward to the upcoming holiday season and all that we have to be thankful for...


NC Curry said...

So great to read this. Love hearing from your family!

Rachel Gorman said...

Great post. Well put together.