March 20, 2010


Wow it’s really been a crazy few days.  I feel like Wednesday was so long ago, that when I think about stopping to recount the last few days, it is somewhat overwhelming (but I will give it a shot).

This journey really started before Wendy was born.  Here is the short version of how we arrived at this week’s surgery.

Before Wendy was born they were worried that she may be too small, so they ordered an in-depth ultrasound.  This ultrasound revealed two things: 1) Her size was nothing to be concerned about 2) She had what appeared to be a cyst on her cerebellum.  This cyst can be an indicator or a severe brain disorder called dandy-walker.  They decided that after birth they would perform an MRI to determine exactly what was going on inside her brain. 

Jump to 6 months after her birth we had our first MRI at Children’s Hospital in Seattle to take a look at the cyst.  This MRI also revealed two things: 1) The cyst on her cerebellum was nothing to be concerned about 2) She had another “cyst on her skull

Jump another 3 months and we decided to go ahead and remove the “cyst” Which leads us to this week.

On Wednesday we went to Children’s for Pre-op appointments.  We met with one of the Neurosurgery nurse practitioners who told us about the surgery and what to expect before and after. Then we has an appointment with the nurse practitioners for the anesthesiologist.  They did a lot of the pre-screening questions and told us some more  about what to expect. 

Thursday morning we had to be at the hospital at 6:15am, although this was REALLY early, it was nice because it limited the amount of time that Wendy had to not eat (which she was not thrilled about anyway).  When we got the hospital it was very quiet, with only a few other family there.  Wendy was both hungry and tired, she was not in a very good mood, but she did alright, considering.

The Before Picture


They came in and had me wipe her down with 2 special disinfecting clothes, which she did not appreciate, and we put her in her cute little hospital gown (which I brought home, even though I’m pretty certain you are not supposed to).


Next, someone from the neurosurgery team came and drew with a marker on Wendy’s head, marking the location of the cyst. We tried to get a picture.

If you look in the bottom left corner of the photo, you can kind of see it.


We waited for a while as various members of the surgery and anesthesiology team came in and introduced themselves. 

Next we took Wendy over to the MRI prep area and I held her in my arms while they put the mask over her mouth and put her to sleep.  She was screaming, which helped the gas to work very quickly.  I laid her on the table and gave her some kisses and then we left so that the doctors could begin putting in her IV’s, Central Lines and breathing tube.

The hospital gave us a pager that kept us informed about when they were starting the surgery and when the surgery was over.

First, Wendy had an MRI, which took about 30 minutes.  Then there was an hour and a half of prep between the MRI and the surgery. An hour of surgery and then a CT scan. 

After the surgery was finished Dr. Ojemann came out and told us that the “cyst” was a large boney mass. They had drilled and chiseled it away and were very happy with the results.  They did have to take some extra bone from another spot on her skull to fill in some of the gaps.  But everything had gone as planned.

They told us it would be about an hour before we would be able to see her, because she was still asleep in recovery. 


It turned out to be about 2 hours before we saw her.  There were two reasons for this.  The first is that she was very grumpy (either because she was in pain, or because she was hungry) they weren’t sure which one, so they gave her a bunch of morphine to calm her down.  The second reason was that she was having some trouble breathing on room air so they were trying to level out her oxygen.  When they finally brought her in, she was very unhappy, but she calmed down once I gave her a bottle. 


She was still having a lot of trouble breathing, I could feel the crackles in her chest every time she took a breath.  They called a respiratory therapist who was fabulous.  She came in and came up with a plan to give Wendy a steroid treatment for the long-term and they did a special epinephrine treatment for some short term relief.


They warned us that the epinephrine treatment would give a short term burst of crazy energy and boy did it! She finished the treatment a stood up and started moving all over the place, she was touching and trying to eat everything she could see! She wasn’t holding still at all, it was crazy. 


And as quickly as it came, it was gone and she was back to sitting and whining.  She was very sleepy, but couldn’t sleep in her bed (It was hard to navigate around all the cords and things.  Plus, we were sharing a room so there were a lot of people in and out.  The only way she would sleep was if Mommy or Grammie were holding her and even then, she only slept for an hour or so at a time. (It was a long night).  We took a lot of walks down the hallways in her stroller with her IV poll, she really enjoyed being out and about.

The next morning, we were exhausted. My mommy had pulled most of the night shift so that I could get some sleep, which was super helpful.  The next morning Wendy ate some cheerios and we all decided that Wendy would probably do much better if we could just get her back to her own house.  The doctor’s did their morning rounds and they said that they wanted her to stay a few hours just to make sure that her breathing would continue to improve even after the last steroid treatment wore off and they wanted to make sure she could poop. (Both of which were accomplished).


As soon as we got in the car Wendy was much happier, she started smiling and playing.  And she finally fell asleep.  First we went to my mom’s house and Wendy was thrilled.  She just wanted to get down and crawl around. (She was definitely tired of people touching her). 

When we got home she slept from 6pm – 12am and then from 12 – almost 5am and then again until about noon.  (She was catching up too.) And as I type, she is asleep once again.  She must be happy to be home! And so am I.DSCN0355

We have a wound checking appointment in two weeks and then we have another appointment in six weeks to do an MRI to see how everything is healing up.

So, that’s my longwinded story.  If you made it this far, congrats. If you just skimmed through the pictures, I don’t blame you (that’s probably what I would have done too).


The following pictures are not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

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March 9, 2010

Hurray for ART!

Well, I did it.  I put my very first hole in a wall!  I have lived in 4 places since I left college and this is the first time I’ve ever hung anything up. 


I was a little nervous about putting my first hole in the wall, but my first hole led to two more.


I think it all came out great.


You should all check out Danny Schutt at

You need to read his story, it is really inspiring. DSCN0297

Thank you so much for this piece Danny! I love it! I am so proud to have it hanging in my house :-)  


February 17, 2010

Wendy's Surgery

Wendy's surgery has been scheduled for March 18th. She will have a pre-op appointment the day before. When I have times I will post them

February 16, 2010


Wow! Five posts in one day, that just seems a little excessive, but I do feel caught up now.  Today, we took a walk up to the Emme’s house to see their new puppies.  They are sooo cute!  Ella loved them. On our way home she asked if we could take one home ( I laughed).

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

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A is for Apple and Ant

Today Ella and I re-started working on writing her alphabet.  Naturally we started with the letter A.  First, we ate some apples.

Then, we did some work sheets.

We turned the polka dotted A into an A covered in apples



Then we colored in this Ant


We worked on Big A’s and Little a’s


Then we ate some more apples.  So far, so good.  After naptime I think we may read some apple books and sing “the ants go marching one by one”.  Should be lots of fun!           

Happy Valentimes Day


Well, I had every intention of taking photos and blogging through the whole process of making these, but that didn’t happen, so here are a few pictures of the finished product.  Ella made these and handed them out to her friends at church on Sunday.


We pealed a TON of crayons, broke them into little pieces and then put them in silicone molds, baked them in the oven and voila!


I was going to make valentines to put them on, but then I found these ones at (she has a ton of really cute ideas, you should definately check it out). In case you can’t read them they say, “Have a colorful Valentine’s Day!”

As great as these were, I’m afraid I may have bitten off more then I can chew.  I don’t think regular boxed Valentine cards will be good enough now, we will have to wait and see. 

Childhood Right of Passage

Yesterday Ella (and Wendy) experienced something that is a right of passage for every child.  Her very first trip to Chuck E Cheese.  (Now, if I had realized that school was out and it would be packed, we probably wouldn’t have gone).  Ella had a great time.  She loved seeing Chuck E Cheese, although she didn’t want to get close to him.  So a large pizza, some lemonade. 3 hours and 100 tokens worth of games later, the day was a success.  Ella has not stopped talking about our trip since she got up this morning.  I planned on taking more photos, but we were having too much fun.  Here are just a few. DSCN0212 DSCN0217DSCN0218  At first Ella wasn’t so sure what she thought of Chuck E., cut eventually she decided he was great.DSCN0216DSCN0215    

February 10, 2010

The News You’ve All Been Waiting For

Wendy had her appointment at Children’s Hospital today.  We were meeting with Dr. Ojemann (her doctor, as well as the head of the neurosurgery department) to check on the cyst on her brain and decide what we should do about it. He took a look at her old MRI and at her head now.  He basically left the decision up to me.  He said that we could wait and watch it, or take it out.  Both options had risks and perks. 

Waiting meant that there was a larger possibility of head malformation if it had to be removed later, and a more difficult time getting the bone to go back together.  Also, there was the obvious possibility of it growing. However, there was less of a possibility of needing a blood transfusion. 

Doing the surgery now holds the risk of more blood loss, but there is less of a possibility of them needing to manipulate the bone in order to cover the hole.  There is also the peace of mind for Mommy that this foreign object is no longer in her head.

I have had six months to think about what I wanted to do, and I have had a peace about doing the surgery for quite a while.  Dr. Ojemann was very supportive about doing the surgery and agreed that it was a good way to go.  Dr. Thompson (Wendy’s pediatrician) also had advised that if given the option he would have it removed.

So, that being said sometime in March Wendy will be going in to surgery. If they do not have to manipulate the bone she should be able to go home that day, otherwise she may have to stay overnight.  They did some blood work today to test and make sure that her blood does not have any problems clotting. Wendy did not enjoy this part, and they had to poke multiple times and root around before they found the vein.  (Mommy was very sad).  A week before her surgery she will meet with the aenesthesiologist (even my spell check couldn’t figure out what I was trying to spell) and another doctor to determine that she is healthy enough for surgery.  The day of surgery they will start with an MRI to make sure they have a current idea of what the cyst is doing.  Then they will cut a W shaped incision in her skull, they will then scrape out the cyst and then put everything back together. 

So, know you know what I know.  I will keep you posted on dates and details as I get them. Here are some of her MRI photos to give you a better idea of what is going on. (And it took me literally hours to figure out how to get these up here so I hope you appreciate them :-)

Somehow in all my messing with these the films got reversed, so picture the cyst on the other side of her brain.  Don’t look for the cyst in the profile picture, because you can’t see it.  I just thought it was cute!

Wendy MRI

February 5, 2010

The Big Update

Ok, I know I promised more Christmas photos, but seeing as how this is February that seems a little silly, so here is an update on what has been going on post-Christmas. 


Ella’s new favorite place to play is the indoor park.  At our local community center they set up toys inside a gymnasium and the kids can run around and play.  She loves it.  She especially enjoys playing with her friends Jacob, Johnny, Warren, Aubrey and Jeanine (Wendy and Daniel are there too :-)



Wendy’s new favorite place to play is the table in the living room.  She has claimed it as her official “playhouse”, she climbs inside and sits there for about 20 minutes at a time, some times she brings her toys in there with her, its very cute.  She hasn’t figured out how to get out without slamming her head into the ground, but I’m sure she’ll figure it out eventually.



Our Cubbies (including Ella) had there first AWANA Grand Prix.  I wanted to get photos of all the kids with there cars, but I missed a few (well, most of them).  They had a fun time racing.  Ella designed her car all by herself.  Papa cut it out and sanded it, then we decorated it.  She picked everything out herself and decided exactly where she wanted it all to go. Mommy and Daddy made cars too, but we didn’t get any pictures of those.



The best thing about baking will always be licking the bowl. :-)

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