Short version: Havyn had her first followup after she started bracing last year. The X-Ray showed that her scoliosis is stable, holding at 65 degrees at the worst part of her curve. It hasn’t progressed since she’s been wearing the brace. This is GREAT news! This means that she won’t need surgery right now. She’ll repeat imagining every four months and we hope to keep getting the same news!
In other news, let’s just say that we’re grateful for some good news after the way 2020 started for our family. It’s just
weird frustrating annoying stupid.
A few weeks ago, I (Steve) decided to join my kids at Defy (House of Boom). This trampoline park is a ton of fun! Well, it’s fun for kids, anyway. When I overshot a landing, my right leg hit the wood platform and my ankle rolled and popped. I hopped over to a bench and yelled for Tammy. She tracked down an icepack. A nearby lady shook her head in a motherly way as if to say, “well what did you think would happen old man?”
It didn’t start swelling right away but I knew that I’d hurt it pretty badly. We stopped over at Wendy’s because all that bouncing made the kids hungry. We dropped the kids off at home (thanks Brooke!) and went to the E.R. By the time we got there, my ankle looked like grapefruit. The good news is that the fine folks at Norton Brownsboro had us IN AND OUT in 40 minutes flat. The other good news is that my ankle wasn’t broken.
“Sprained” they said. I always thought sprains weren’t that big of a deal. Man was I wrong. After a visit to the orthopedic doctor and a bit of reading, I found out there are different grades of sprains. Minor, grade 1 sprains involve the stretching of some ligaments. They hurt a bunch but heal up pretty quickly. Too bad mine is a grade 3. That means ligaments are completely torn. I stayed in bed for a few days, dusted off the ol’ crutches, and am slowly recovering.
Around the same time, Tammy had a biopsy taken from a spot on her face. The dermatologist feared basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. A little over a week ago the report came back positive. Thankfully, this type of cancer is highly treatable. An outpatient surgery can remove the cancer and it almost never spreads. However, this still means surgery, recovery, and scarring. She got the appointment for the surgery scheduled, frustrated but thankful for the option to have it removed.
And then a day or two later I came home from work and went to start dinner. Tammy and the kids hadn’t gotten home yet form whatever they were doing. When I walked by the basement, I thought I heard a strange noise but didn’t think much of it. I went to the sink to run some hot water for the noodles. The water stayed ice cold. I called Tammy. “Did you have any trouble with the hot water today?” She responded, “I haven’t been home all afternoon.” Oh no. I opened the basement door and my fears were confirmed. The basement had flooded. Our water heater blew out the bottom and everything was covered in about 3 inches of water. I hobbled down there on my one good leg and shut off the water line. Thankfully our basement is unfinished and mostly just storage. We lost some stuff, but not too much, and we needed to get down there and clean anyway. This just wasn’t exactly the timeline we had in mind, but what are you gonna do!?
Surgery eve for Tammy was Sunday. The plan was to get the kids off to school on Monday and then head down for surgery. But then Havyn woke up in the middle of the night Sunday. She was miserable and coughing. She had a fever of about 102°. Our good friend Linda came and sat with her on Monday so Tammy and I could go down for the procedure.
Let me pause the whining right there and talk about Dr. West and the Mohs surgery. Fascinating! So we arrived and they took Tammy straight back. Tammy loves needles 😬so I think getting numbed was probably her favorite part. (end sarcasm) Dr. West proceeded to make a small cut to the cancer spot. Probably about the size of a pencil eraser. They take as little as possible and go look at it under a microscope. If he gets it all on the first pass, you get stitched up and go home. Usually, though, it takes more than one cut to get it all. In this case, Dr. West got all of the cancer removed after just two cuts. (I don’t think Tammy would use the word “just” if she were writing this!)
And then came time for her to be closed up. Amazingly, before that can be done, a lot more skin needs to be removed. This is to make sure enough skin can be pulled in and leave for minimal scarring.
In the waiting room, we met several other people there for the same procedure. Each of them had large bandages on their faces, waiting to get news of whether there needed to be more cutting. It was a neat community of folks all going through the same thing. The repeat customers spoke so highly of how great Dr. West is and how, after a few months, the scars aren’t even noticeable.
We returned to the madness of our house so Tammy could begin recovering. That night Havyn kept getting worse and worse. At one point her fever hit 105°! Thankfully it responded quickly to Tylenol. We talked to our pediatrician (Dr. Wampler is the BEST!) and started her on Tamiflu. We haven’t had her officially tested, but all signs point to the flu. What stinks the most is that Tammy should have been able to do nothing for a couple days while her pain is at the worst. While I’ve done my best to take care of everything, Tammy’s had to do more than she should because of Havyn. But the worst seems to be behind us. Havyn went most of today fever-free and her cough seems to be getting a bit better. We’re praying she wakes up ready to get back to normal tomorrow.
And now back to the original reason for this post. So yeah… we were hoping for good news today. We sure didn’t want to hear that Havyn was going to have to be facing surgery anytime soon. When we got down to Dr. Puno’s office the waiting room was SO full. We checked in and asked what the wait time was expected to be. TWO HOURS! “Can we go somewhere else while we wait?!” So we did. We ended up taking the kids (Havyn and Arlie) across the bridge to Schimpff’s Confectionary over in Jeffersonville. If you’ve never been there, you should go! It’s an old candy store dating back to 1891. We watching them make some candy, walked through the museum, and bought a few goodies. (Why did you choose candy corn, Havyn?!)
Back across the bridge we went. They got us straight back, took an X-ray, and then we saw Dr. Puno. He studied the images. There was so much tension and anxiety in the room. But then he got right to it. “So her curve hasn’t changed. It’s holding at 65 degrees.” PHEW! Praise the Lord! He went on to explain to us what we’ve talked about before. If we can keep holding the curve, we can avoid the “growing rod” surgeries which are invasive and require at least a dozen surgeries over the next several years. Our hope is that her curve will hold until she’s a teenager and she can have one single surgery to put in rods and do a spinal fusion. Or even better that her back would straighten up without any surgery at all! Thanks so much for joining us in these prayers.
Okay, that’s a lot of words to say that life is crazy but we’ve still got plenty to be grateful for. I don’t know the “why” for all of the stuff that we’ve walked through. I do know, for sure, that it could be WAY worse, so we’re trying to keep our perspective. But God has been showing us that the people we encounter along the journey of life are part of the reason we’re allowed to endure hardships. I love what Tavia Hunt, wife of Chief’s owner Clark Hunt, said after the Super Bowl win:
“THANK YOU Jesus!! Don’t think He cares about football but He cares about people…”
She’s got the right perspective. We all tend to get a bit too caught up in our circumstances that we can totally miss the people all around us. EVERY SINGLE PERSON you pass each day is a child of God, loved by Jesus. And each person you see is dealing with their own stuff. Sprained ankles, cancer, flooded basements, sick kids, and MUCH worse. When we stop for two seconds to see the people all around us we realize that we have a purpose in the pain. I’m not sure what junk you’re dealing with right now, but I hope you have people with you to help shoulder your burdens. And as you encounter medical personnel, water remediation teams, pharmacy techs, and whoever else you see tomorrow, remember that God cares about people and He chooses you to show them that.
P.S. Thanks to the Parkmans, the Tylers, the Doves, and Jon & Lindsay for loving us well. Your gifts and assistance mean the world to us.