Wednesday, June 22, 2011

you never know how much your life can change…

I know there are a few of you out there wondering where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting…so just in case you haven’t heard…here’s a short re-cap of my life from the last couple of weeks. 

You know Zach, right?

zachary_june4th

(This photo was taken on June 4th, right after his freezing cold back yard slip & slide adventure.)

He’s our super busy, never sit down, always on-the-go, soccer playing, trampoline jumping, bike and scooter riding, happy-go-lucky, sweet 5-year-old little boy. 

I don’t really know how to begin to retell our little story, so here’s a snippet from an e-mail I sent to a friend yesterday:

We are home and doing really well.  If you were here looking at Zach, you would NEVER guess anything was (or has been) ever wrong with him.  He looks 100% normal and acts the same as he did before.  He had two strokes on Thursday night (June 9th).  We didn't know until Friday night what had happened.  He had fallen asleep early on Thursday, which I didn't think anything of since the kids had been playing hard outside in the sunshine all day...but then I couldn't get him to wake up on Friday.  He would kind of  wake up...but was really really groggy, his words were slurred, and he couldn't really stand or walk without help.  I honestly thought maybe he'd hit his head and had a concussion, so I called our pediatrician.  They made an appointment, but then called right back and said to bring him in immediately.  From there we were sent straight to our local ER...and then Zach was taken by ambulance to Primary Children's Hospital. 

We waited for what felt like an eternity in the ER at PCMC…not a fun place for any parent to be – especially with a little child who won’t/can’t wake up.  He had an MRI about midnight and we found out about the strokes around 2:00 am.    We also found out that he has had a stroke previously - about a year ago - we're pretty sure we know when it was now...we were at the lake one evening and he started walking/leaning sideways and couldn't walk straight.  But it only lasted for a few minutes, so we dismissed it as maybe being dehydrated since we were out in the sun at the lake all afternoon.  Needless to say it was a long long night - followed by several VERY long days.  He had a ton of tests and everything kept coming back normal, so they couldn't determine what had caused his strokes.  Spinal tap, multiple blood tests, ultrasounds of his heart, and plenty of other tests.  They did an angiogram on Monday where they discovered that the arteries and veins in his head aren't formed correctly.  They are way too small...so his body has been trying to compensate by creating hundreds of little tiny blood vessels to send oxygen to the parts of his brain that weren't getting enough.  It's amazing how the body tries to heal itself (the neurologist said it's been going on for years, and since he is only 5, it sounds like it has been happening for most of his life)...and we had NO idea anything was wrong.  He is our MOST active, coordinated kid of all of our kids at age 5.  He is smart and right on level where he should be for learning.  It's crazy. 

Zach was so amazing in the hospital.  We spent a couple of days in the PICU – and when Brad and I could barely hold it together, Zach was being strong and brave.  He was poked and prodded and tested and he didn’t complain once.  Once he was awake and responsive, he was talkative and happy and cute with the doctors and nurses.  He answered their questions (and asked several of his own).  The doctors and nurses were amazing.  Angels.  Honestly.  There was one nurse who asked Zach if they could still be friends after she had to have the IV team come and start a new IV for him.  He replied, “Yes, we can still be friends.  But I live in Heber.  Heber City.  That’s pretty far from here.  So when you come visit, you should bring food.  Or at least a drink.”  It was so funny how he took everything in stride.  Even when they were starting new IV’s he barely whimpered when he was being poked.  And he loved ordering his own meals (whatever and whenever he wanted).  When he could finally eat again, he was all about the macaroni and cheese and watermelon.  He drank gallons of gatorade too (gatorade and water are his new best friends and he will be carrying it with him every moment of every day all summer long).

At this point, there's not a lot they can do for him.  There's no magic pill (unfortunately) and no surgery to "fix it."  He will take baby aspirin every day and we need to make sure he is always VERY hydrated...dehydration could easily cause another stroke.  Other than that...we will watch him closely and pray a lot.  We're just grateful that his stroke doesn't seem to have caused any permanent physical damage.  His face was droopy on one side and his body was weak on the other side...but that seems to have all gone away.

Right now I feel like I'm coming out of a fog -- both from the physical/emotional exhaustion and just knowing what we know now and how it will affect his future.  Brad and I both feel like he will be okay.  Even at the scariest times, we both had a feeling of peace and knowledge that he would be okay.  Zach was given a priesthood blessing which comforted and reassured us as well.  We don’t know what the future holds – beyond lots of follow-up, tests, and perhaps over-protective parenting…but we are grateful for those moments of peace and reassurance we felt while we were sitting at his bedside, frightened and completely overwhelmed with worry.

We are so grateful for family and friends who have helped us out over the last several days…we’ve received so many phone calls, texts, e-mail messages, and even visits – it’s overwhelming when I think about how many people have been concerned and worried for us.  There have been so many people praying for Zach and our family.  There’s no way we can truly thank you all for all you have done.  Perhaps the best way is to remind everyone of how precious life is.  We never know how our lives can change in a matter of moments.  Hug your kids.  Give them your time and attention and love.  Don’t wait for a scary emergency to take a good look at your priorities. 

I’m taking this week to recharge…I haven't started "working" yet...I need to let the dust settle a bit more before I can put any energy or focus into that – I’m not quite ready to be creative again…but I will say that this has also been a reminder about how important it is to me to record our stories – and I choose to do that through scrapbooking, so I’ll be back soon – creating more pages and photos and sharing the moments, stories, and feelings that make my life what it is...the good and the bad and the scary too.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as well as your patience and understanding while I transition back into my (new) "real life." :)

25 comments:

  1. that had to be the scariest thing for you all to go through. poor little zach. i'm so glad that you caught it in time, and got him to the amazing doctors, that were able to figure out what was going on with your precious boy. even though you've chatted with me a bit, i have still been really worried that there was more going on. i am so happy to hear that zach is doing great, and is his normal, happy, cute little self! i have a gut feeling he'll be totally fine :)

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  2. Not cool. Primary Children's is such a humbling gut-wrenching place. I am happy he is doing well, and hope he will continue to heal himself.
    Hugs to you, momma!
    You deserve a nap. ;)

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  3. You and your family are in our prayers. What a scary story. So glad to hear he is doing great.

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  4. So glad that all is well with your family now. That was a very scary reminder about not taking any part of our lives for granted. To live each day to the fullest with hearts full of gratitude.

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  5. Oh so scary! I've heard reminders like this all too often lately - thankful it wasn't worse and you have had some great care.

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  6. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. What a brave little boy.

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  7. What a scary time you've had...my prayers are with your family!

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  8. I can't even imagine how scary that must have been!!! So very glad to hear it has turned out well! Will continue to keep you in my thoughts....

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  9. We love your family so much and we are so happy and grateful that little Zachy is back home and safe. Kaleb was so worried about his little buddy and wanted to make sure they were still going to be able to play this summer. I hope he continues to get stronger and that you guys truly know that we are here for you and will help you with anything you ever need. Love you guys!!

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  10. Oh my gosh, how scary! I can't even begin to imagine all that you all have been through!!! I am so so glad to hear he is ok. Thinking of you all!! Hugs, Michelle

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  11. Oh, MY! Wendy! I'm so sorry this has been happening to you! I was in your neck of the woods last weekend for the race and was thinking about you, but I had no idea. Continued prayers for you & your family. Medical issues are so tough! Make sure you are good to yourself during this, too, because it's SO draining on you, and you need to replenish your own reserves, too.

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  12. oh wendy! my heart goes out to you. i can only imagine how scary this whole experience must have been for you all. i will continue to send lots of prayers zach's way and please know that i am always here for you should you need me albeit quite a few states away. ;) (we might have to take zach's advice to his nurse and bring food and drink)! hugs!

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  13. God is good! Praise for all the blessings of this situation.

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  14. How scary, (((hugs))) to you and your family, so sorry to hear about it.

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  15. Oh wow Wendy! My heart goes out to you and your family! Glad to hear he is doing better! So sorry to hear about all of this, things can change so quickly. Just wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my prayers!

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  16. What a frightening experience. I am so glad that you were able to find out what was wrong and that everything is going to be OK. I am also glad that your faith helped carry you through.

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  17. Wendy, I am so sorry to read about your son. I could only imagine how frightening it was for you, and your family. He does sound like a little trooper, and I am so glad that he is going to be okay!!! Hugs to you!!!

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  18. Oh my word. Sending you love and prayers. Take care of that beautiful boy...and yourself!

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  19. Poor little guy! My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  20. Wendy, I have been thinking of and praying for you and your family this week. May your batteries be recharged as you find your feet again, and Zach and the family adapt to these changes ... I'm looking forward to some good news in your next posts!

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  21. OH MY, Wendy! Praise God that you found out what is going on and that everything is "ok". I'm so sorry that your family had to deal with this situation--but I'm glad that you felt peace. Praise God for His peace and protection! I pray that you would found rest this week, and that Zach would continue to recover and get better! <3

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  22. Oh. My. Gracious! So scary. I'm glad everything is as okay as it can be right now. Prayers will be continued for you and your family. Get some rest! Take care!
    ~ Julie McD

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  23. Wendy, my heart goes out to you and your husband as the worry must have been heartbreaking. Children are amazing little people and take things in their stride, I'm so relieved for you that your precious boy is home again and you now have answers to what was going on. Thinking of you and praying that he will continue to be a happy, healthy little man.

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  24. All of us at CK have been thinking about and praying for you and your family, Wendy. So glad Zach's home. Recharge and refresh - our thoughts are with you. - Jennafer

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  25. Soy de España y vuestra historia me ha conmocionado. Tengo un hijo de 9 años y me pongo en vuestra piel y es muy duro. Pero sois una gran familia, unida y feliz, sólo hay que ver al pequeño. Mucho ánimo.

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