Friday, June 10, 2011

Playing Catch-up

I'm trying to catch-up on the last few busy weeks of our lives. I'm starting with the story of what happened to my busy, brave boy. I'm apologize for this post being long, but I didn't want to split it up.

Back in April I was sitting on the couch reading a book to all four of my kids. I stopped to say something to K-man and I saw a bump on his face. At first glance I thought he was sticking his tongue in his cheek, but then realized that it wasn't possible with the location of the bump. Right away I called Shawn and he told me to contact the doctor.

 Here is his cyst on the side of his neck right under the jaw line.

 My pediatrician was able to get us in the following morning. Waiting over night to figure out what was going on was nerve racking! The following morning I got my troops ready and took them with me to the doctor. My kids are used to going to the doctor's office for check-ups and know the routine of reading and doing school work quietly while we wait. Dr. Eisinger got us in right away and spent about 10 minutes looking at K-man and asking me questions. The thing that worried me most is when he left the room and went to get the other pediatrician in the office to have him take a look at the bump too. Neither one of them new exactly what the bump was so they sent us right over to the ENT Doctor in the same building. ENT is ear, nose and throat, I didn't know that before this happened.

Now I'm really worried, I'm seeing my 3rd doctor for the day with 4 kids in tow! We waited for the ENT doctor to fit us in to his already busy schedule. He said it was probably a cystic hygroma and to give it a week to see if it would go away.

A cystic hygroma is a genetic cyst that is usually found in infants or children under 2 years of age. Sometimes it will appear later in life after an illness and K-man had been sick a few weeks before this happened. He had woke up in the middle of the night and came to our room unable to breathe. Shawn rushed him to the ER and they gave him an Albuteral treatment which cleared him up. That event suddenly rushed back into our minds as the trigger that probably aggravated this cyst. Later as I talked with my mom she reminded me that my brother had had the same type of cyst removed when he was in high school.

A week went by and after much prayer the cyst looked the same so the local ENT doctor scheduled us an appointment with a pediatric ENT doctor at the children's hospital in the Twin Cities, three hours from our home.
 His cyst on the right side of the picture. He was very self conscious so I didn't get many pictures of him in the month we had to wait for surgery.

 God has blessed us with a wonderful family and we were very grateful that both of our moms were able to get away to come watch the girls for us while we were in the Twin Cities for the surgery.

 Shawn's mom Yvette, K-man and my mom Kristi.

On the Monday before his surgery I toted all 4 kids back to our doctor so he could have a pre-surgery physical. On Tuesday the Nanas arrived and we took them to School of Choice and soccer with us. Then on Thursday morning Shawn, K-man and I left to drive to the Twin Cities for his CT scan and pre-surgery doctor appointment.

Of course they forgot to tell us that he couldn't eat lunch because of the IV medication that he needed for the CT scan so we had to wait longer for the scan to happen. While we waited, we went ahead a figured out where his surgeon's office was located and they actually fit us in before the CT scan. After his CT scan we check in to our hotel room and then went to the Mall of America.

 Friday we checked in at the hospital early for his scheduled surgery at 10:30.
 K-man's last picture, pre-surgery.

We loved the staff at the Children's Hospital. They were all friendly and very good with putting K-man at ease. A little bit before K-man's scheduled surgery time they had an emergency so we had to wait a little bit longer. He enjoyed playing the Game Cube in his room while we waited.

Our surgeon came in and explained that his cyst was a little bit more involved than he originally thought. (It had shrunk quite a bit for when we initially discovered it, but it was still there.) The day before he had thought that he would only need to make a small 1 inch incision to remove the tumor, but after looking at the CT scan pictures he found that the cyst was longer and tangled with one of his facial nerves under his jaw (the nerve that controls smiling). He said he would take his time during surgery and that we shouldn't be too concerned about the time that it took because with a cystic hygroma they have to get all the cyst out or it has a high chance of coming back.  

He also said he would take care of K-man's tongue tie. The little flap on the bottom of his tongue went all the way to the end so he couldn't stick out his tongue. Some times this can effect kids speaking skills or pull on their gums so we were glad that they could fix two things in one surgery.

When it was finally time for the surgery to start K-man decided he wanted to walk down the hallway instead of riding on the bed. I was starting to get teary at this point, but I did manage to hold back my tears. He did great until they asked him to climb up on the surgery table, which he didn't want to do. I helped him up on the table and he held his Elmo and quilt that he had made. Shawn and I stood beside him while they gave him a mask of medicine to make him sleep. As we left our precious, firstborn son in that room my tears started. That had to be the hardest thing I have ever done!

We knew it was going to be at least 3 hours so we went to the hospital cafeteria to eat lunch and call our families with updates. After lunch we went back to the family waiting room to wait until K-man was out of recovery. I posted some updates on Facebook about the progress and we watched some tv. We had dropped him off in surgery at 11:45 and we didn't get to see him until around 4:00. Wow, does time drag by! I didn't think they would ever call us and the longer it went on the more I was worried that something may have gone wrong.

While we were waiting we had a special delivery from K-man's Sunday School Teacher, Lisa Hart. It was comforting knowing that our church family was also thinking about us and praying for K-man as he went through surgery. Also knowing that God is control of the universe and our every minute on Earth was a comfort because I knew that nothing was going to happen without his knowledge.

 K-man in his post-op room. He was crying when they brought him out of recovery and said he was in pain. After a few doses of Morphine and something else I can't remember he pretty much slept through the night even though the nurse was in to see him every few hours.

He did wake up long enough to order tons of food for dinner. He ordered enough food for the whole day since he had already missed breakfast and lunch. He ate quite a bit that night and then had a huge breakfast in the morning.
 His bandage and drain tube.

They put the bandage on so he didn't need staples, which we would have had to come back to have removed. They used disolvable stitches instead of the staples (which my brother said hurt really bad when they pulled them out after his surgery). The poor guys slept and only woke to go to the bathroom and eat. He said the worse part was the CT scan when he needed an IV for the medication and then when they pulled the drain tube out before he went home. His doctor came and was very friendly and tried to joke around with him, but K-man wouldn't even look at him.

K-man slept all Saturday morning in the hospital and then on the 3 hour trip home. Sunday morning we stopped giving him the pain medication we bought and just gave him Tylenol and he perked right up.

 K-man the 2nd day after surgery.

We had K-baby dedicated the day after we got home from his surgery so we were glad that he was feeling better and was able to go. I think the worst part was the pain meds that totally knocked him out. He definitely got caught up on his rest.

In this picture he still have quite a bit of swelling from the surgery, but he didn't complain about any pain, which we were thankful for. His smile is a little bit crooked right now because the doctors had to detach his facial nerve from the tumor. They are hoping that after a few months his nerve will recover and will be fully functioning. They also ended up removing 2 of his saliva glands along with the cyst. We haven't heard back from the doctors yet on exactly what the cyst was, but they did think it wasn't a cystic hygroma after all. They were pretty sure it wasn't the big "C" either, but I'll keep pestering them with phone calls until they call me back with results.

 A picture from Nana's house a week later. He's looking better everyday.

 He's still self conscious. He smiles with his lips closed because he doesn't want anyone to see his crooked smile. He also didn't want anyone looking at his bandage or scar, but I think he is getting better and more laid back about it each day.

His bandage finally finished falling off today (3 weeks after surgery). We weren't supposed to pull it off. His scar is about 4 inches long, but it's under his jaw line so it's not very noticeable.

I'm very thankful for all the people that prayed for us during this journey! I'm hoping that after this surgery, 3 previous sets of stitches in various kids, and lots of other ER visits we will not be going back to the doctor for a while.


  1. What an epic thankful he has recovered so quickly! God Bless!

  2. What a story! I'm so glad it's all over with and I hope you don't have to deal with any kind of illness or injury for a very long time....or ever!!

    We've been so lucky that none of our kids have ever even had stiches!

    Poor baby boy looks so pitiful in that hospital bed. I don't know how you handle it all, Mommy!

  3. And what a blessing that the Nanas were able to come help!!