Welcome to Coleson's blog. We've created it to keep friends and family updated on the journey we are about to embark on.. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

3 Down, 2 to Go!

Weeks until braces off that is... 

At least according to Leo the Ninja Turtle that is.  Leo is our official holder of our countdown chain (an idea from a good friend and Hurler dad, Todd.  Leo was a gift from his friend Eli.  It is a cardboard cutout and stands 6 ft. tall.  He not only makes a good chain holder but also can be used as an anti burglary device as well!  (Think "Home Alone" style).

Coleson seems to be holding up fairly well, both physically and emotionally.  I think his emotions are following a bell curve (can you tell I'm in business) as he is starting to ask more frequently about the number of days.  Not unlike my state of mind when I was running marathons... you start off thinking 1 mile down 25 to go,  a milestone so far off that you don't even want to watch the mile markers... you ask yourself, why am I doing this again?  Then you find your rhythm and you zone out for a while and you think, "I got this... Now I remember why I'm doing this", I feel great like I can do and achieve anything!  Then you hit mile 20 (the "Wall") for some and you again start asking, "Why am I doing this again?".  Self-doubt on being able to finish the last 6 miles sets in, you start to feel pain in various places in your body.  You start rationalizing that you've already run 20+miles and isn't that a big enough accomplishment... no one will know if you walk the rest of the way in...  the miles are counting down quite as quickly as they were before... But before you know it, you look up to see that you are already at mile 25...and you get your adrenaline back... but that last mile.2 feels like the prior all of the previous 25 miles combined.  Somehow the additional .2 feels like so much more.  But alas you cross that finish line and later you can reflect on the entire race and soon enough similar to giving birth without any meds, you think... that wasn't too bad, I can do that again!    I don't think Coleson will ever want to go through this again, but hopefully he will come to the same conclusion that this wasn't so bad and he can accomplish anything!

We are finding ways to get through the days/weeks.  Thankfully we have quite a few friends both work and fellow Hurler families here.  We've been to the RMH a few times for bingo and hanging out with the other Hurler families.  They changed the BMT protocol for Hurler kids a couple of years ago to replace a couple of the harsher chemo drugs in lieu of a couple others that are less invasive on the body.  However it seems like the kids are having a harder time keeping the transplant and many are finding that they have to go through 2 BMTs and other complications.  There is a family from Michigan here right now who adopted their Hurler boy and he is on the brink.  I can't even say (or write) what he is on the brink of because it is too hard.  The mother sent out a FB plea to the birth mother (whoever she is) to connect with her so that perhaps he can receive an immediate donation of a sibling or from her just so he can survive.  They aren't even worried about the Hurler syndrome gene at this point.  It is heartbreaking.    It is families like these that make me grateful for what I have and how relatively speaking, Coleson has run his marathon with relative ease. 

We still have a few more appointments to go, Endocrine, Spine Ortho and Wrist/hand Ortho.  I already know his TSH levels are going up so I think he will need an increase in his thyroid meds.  I hope that we continue to get good news from the other ortho docs as we have in prior years.  Then finally we get the braces off and start physical therapy. 

I am looking forward to going to Prince's Paisley Park in a couple weeks with another Hurler family.  I was a huge Prince fan in Jr. High/High School!  Minnesota has so much to offer!  However today it offered us a hail storm this morning and a possible tornado this afternoon.  I don't mind the storms but don't like the prospect of riding out a tornado in the basement.  Peyton is already preparing what she will take down with her if a watch or warning pops up.  She wants to bring all of her clothes, games, stuffed animals, etc. with her!  I tried to convince her that buying new clothes wouldn't be all bad if we had to.  She wasn't buying it!   She gets so attached, she doesn't want to see anything get "lost". 

Meanwhile today is going to be an indoor day which gives me time to post, organize pictures on my computer and do other things that I never find time to do as we don't get too many "indoor" days in Arizona and even if we do, there are too many other things to do around the house. 

Oh, and today is my sister, Beth's, 40th birthday!  Talk about someone who has run a marathon... well I guess she "wheeled" her way through it.  She has defied the odds... Happy Birthday Beth!  Also, my grandmother turned 102 in May.  Another women who seems to be running a marathon!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I've Got That Power

After 9 hrs. of surgery and only 3 nights recovering in the hospital we were able to bring Coleson home on Friday, a whole 4 days earlier than expected.  I am biased but my kid has super hero strength to recover from surgeries.

Monday evening's "talk" about the surgery was uneventful.  Peyton and I told him that his hips were not formed correctly and the Dr. needed to fix them and he would be in a wheelchair afterward.  Peyton had twisted her ankle on Monday and was hoping on one foot and she thought she needed x-rays and possibly a wheelchair as well so she explained that to him as well.  Tuesday's drive to the hospital reminiscent of last years drive, albeit a different route and this time all of us went.  The pre-op routine was very familiar, as we've experienced this at least 15 times before between surgeries, MRIs, ear tubes, etc.  This time though, they access his port and but the happy time cocktail in his port in a stealth like fashion which also had the benefit of having almost instant impact.  He immediately started to smile and act goofy but he didn't fall asleep so alas I had to "suit up" in the paper jumpsuit and mask and make the uncomfortable walk to the OR room.  The walk to an from where you try to fight back the flood of tears that are begging to flow out.  If you've never seen an OR room, it is what I can only describe as "eerie".  It feels like a cold garage, made sterile and filled full of medical gadgets, instruments and machines and of course the bright lights. 

It was a long 9 hrs. but the nurse called us every few to let us know everything was going OK and as more time past the better as that indicated to me that they were able to proceed with all of the surgeries.  There were actually 6 procedures, the cutting of the femurs and drilling the plates to secure the pieces together, shaving off part of the pelvic bone which would be used as the wedge that was needed for the hip socket and then the actual cut in the hip socket to make it more round by placing t previously cut hip bone into the now vacant space in the socket.    As Dr. Walker explained to us after the 9 hr. day, there were only 2 minor issues but otherwise the surgery went perfectly.  The first was that one of the electrodes that were placed into Coleson's skulp had inadvertently came loose and ended up poking the anesthesiologist which meant both Coleson and the anesthesiologist had to have their blood testes to see if Coleson had any viruses or otherwise communicable diseases. He also had to have 1 pint of blood but that is pretty typical.

Reminiscent of last year, Coleson again demonstrated his superhuman ability to rebound from surgery.  He was on quite a bit of pain medicine with a self controlling pump that would administer addition pain meds as he needed.  A 5 year old obviously cannot be responsible for administering his own pump so the nurse asked if I would like to do it or have the nurses.  After not sleeping for 2 nights already, I was in no shape to be making those types of decisions.  I could barely form intelligible sentences at that point.  So I signed off on having the nurses do it the first night.  Coleson was very anxious every time he woke up that night and I went from trying to sleep on the couch to the chair to eventually in his bed with him.  Fortunately we are both small enough to do that and the hospital allows that.  It's been really cold and rainy here in Minnesota since we have arrived and the hospital room was pretty cold so snuggling up to him kept me warm. 

Coleson wasn't very happy every time he woke due to the cast that ran from his thighs and covered his feet, the catheter and all the IVs in him.  He also doesn't like the EKG stickers nor the pulse ox that is stuck to his toe to measure oxygen levels.  As true Coleson fashion, he started lobbying to get things "out" and "off" every chance he could get.  He was able to get one of the IV lines out of him that was used to measure his blood pressure during surgery.  He had to wean off the pain pump and take meds orally to be able to get much of the rest off and out.  Well Coleson never needed more than 1 additional "pump" that first night and was comfortable with just the normal dosage of pain meds/relaxers every 4 hrs.  So by mid-day Wednesday we shut off the pump.  The Catheter could be removed 6 hrs. after this happened but I said we might as well wait til the morning since that would put us in the middle of the night. He had tried to pull on it several times and with his strength and will power I was afraid that if he found the opportunity, he would pull it right out.   He also started asking to go to the bathroom.  Another milestone a patient has to achieve before getting released.  He was pretty scared of the wheelchair like potty that he had to use since the casts prevented him from using a real potty.  However we were able to coax him into it which is a process when you have casts on both legs but to no avail.  I was hoping for a little more sleep that night but Coleson was determined to go to the bathroom and get the cath out.  He couldn't wait til morning so it seemed we tried every hour throughout the night.  Finally at 2:00am, we had achieved the necessary "wait" time after the pain pump was shut off and the removed the cath.  An hour later he finally was able to go to the bathroom.  Another milestone achieved.   

The next morning the Drs. came in and said they would be fitting him with his braces that day.  A day earlier than expected!  I started thinking that we could actually get out of here before spending the whole Memorial Day Weekend in the hospital. So we started the process of removing the casts and getting his new blue braces and his wheelchair was delivered so once we were done with that we were able to take him out and about.  He had also started taking his pain meds by mouth instead of IV so he was only getting the saline in his IV.  Another milestone achieved.  More lines came of him, he was mobile (wheelchair assisted) and now we were just waiting to be released.  I was able to sneak away on Thursday afternoon for a few hours to shower while Aggie, Paul and Peyton stayed with Coleson.  They took him outside and our friends Tasha and Braden along with Tasha's mom, Betty, came for a visit.  Braden is 12 and has Hurlers too.  We met them our first year here in 2013 during BMT.  He also was getting this same surgery.. .again.  Braden has been through variations of this surgery twice before and was back again this summer.  I can't imagine going through this again and hope that we do not have to.

The next morning we got the fabulous news that Coleson could go "home".  I put it in quotes as we are renting a place here so it really isn't our home but it is a "home" none the less and much better than being in the hospital.  The release process always takes a while but by noon we were heading out of the hospital just as Aggie arrived back in Michigan.  Paul had dropped her off at the airport on Friday morning after a quick visit with us. 

So we were able to enjoy Memorial Day weekend at home, learning how to take care of our boy who can't bend his legs.  He is not enjoying his wheelchair but we brought a big running stroller with us and his seems to like that better.  The weather still isn't cooperating much but we have had a few hours of sun so that we could take him outside and play for a while.  We have to do some Range of Motion exercises with him 4x a day so his legs don't get too stiff which he doesn't mind since we have to take the braces off.  He has weaned off all meds already.  I didn't think we were going to get released from the hospital until now and he is already off all his pain meds! 

So it is back to work and reality with some adjustments to our normal life and we anxiously await June 26th when we return to the Dr.s to remove the braces and start to learn how to walk again!  I think the song that Coleson likes to sing, "That Power"  (I've got that Power) sure applies in this case as Coleson certainly has some time of Power to endure surgeries and hospitals and Dr.s time and time again.   

Monday, May 22, 2017

Here We Go Again!

One of Coleson's favorite songs to sing and dance to is "That Power" or as he calls it, "Math Power" by Will.I.Am.  He mistakenly sings the refrain, "Here we Go, Here we Go, Here we Go Again", which is kind of how I felt talking to Dr. Walker, the orthopedic surgeon who will be performing 1/2 of Coleson's surgery tomorrow (this procedure takes 2 surgeons working at the same time).  Hopefully this time it will "Go" as planned and we will be on the other side of this in about 24 hrs. from now.  Probably about the same time you all are reading this. 

Sorry this is my first posting since we have arrived but we had a summers worth of fun to pack in before today and that is exactly what we did.  What does that look like you ask... well it entails a whole day each dedicated to our favorite places starting with the Edinborough Indoor Play Park and Gym on Tuesday, 7 hrs. of amusement park fun at Nickelodeon Universe on Wednesday, 5 hrs. at Crayola Experience on Thursday, 5 hrs. of waterpark fun on Friday and a trip to Minnesota's Largest Candy Store and 3 hrs. at Dave and Busters on Saturday. Fortunately or unfortunately, the weather was cold and rainy all last week so we didn't feel like we were missing the outdoors at all.  We are however done with all the indoor fun and would like nothing but sunshine the rest of our stay.  Yesterday I picked up Grandma early in the morning from the airport and we had a much needed day to recoup before we started into this week.

As far as all of his appointments went last week, we had nothing but "stable" news, which is kind of the best you can hope for with Hurler kids.  We started off with our favorite of the bunch, a visit to Dr. Miller at the BMT clinic and then to Pulmonary, Cardiology and lastly Audiology. Both Pulmonary and Cardiology said he is looking really good and Audiology said his hearing tests have improved from last year slightly but still some mild to moderate hearing loss particularly in the right ear.  Of course, all of these clinical visits require a battery of tests, labs, EKGs, Echo, X-rays, vitals, etc. which Coleson hates to do but he handled most of them like a champ.   We still have endocrinology, spine and hands and wrist Dr.s left which will all be post surgery.

So the day has come that I have to break the news to Coleson that we have to go back to the hospital yet again tomorrow but this time there will be "owies".   Sill not sure what I am going to say or when but I am sure I will find the strength somehow.  I don't think there is any better way to do it so that it won't make him sad and scared so it probably doesn't matter what I say but that I just make sure we give him as much love as possible when I do it.  Peyton of course has been a big help at all the Dr.s appointments especially today for the x-rays which took quite a bit of encouraging for him to do.  He did not want to lay down on the table for the hip x-ray as I am sure he associates laying down with surgery. 

So as you read this, I am hoping we will nearly be out of surgery and that I will soon be following this up with good news.  We could still use all your thoughts and prayers and appreciate all of them we have received along our journey thus far. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

We Have a Date!

For surgery that is...I was both elated and felt my heart sank all at the same time when after 5 months of weekly harassing two different Dr.s offices, I heard the news that Coleson was finally approved for surgery.  Elated as it meant that his skull and spine surgery of last summer was dissipating the syrinx in his spinal cord and anxious as it meant we would soon be leaving for Minneapolis to have the bi-lateral pelvic and femoral surgery (the one he was supposed to have last summer).  The only date that we was available at that point was May 23rd unless we waited to mid-July.  It means leaving 2 weeks earlier than had hoped and missing Coleson’s pre-school graduation but also 2 weeks more of recovery before he starts Kindergarten.  Peyton of course does not mind one bit that we are taking her out of school a week and a half early.  It also means I will be narrowly missing a visit from one of my best friends, Christina.  I am hoping that we have less Minneapolis visits in the future and maybe we can actually take a family trip to California.  Coleson is so excited to go to Minnesota… fortunately for now he associates positive experiences with Minneapolis.  I hope this summer doesn’t change all that.  The hardest part for me as a mom is not the actual surgery itself as that is up to Dr.s and higher powers, and all of you help get me through the day, but it is telling him that he has to have surgery and what the recovery entails… cast, braces, pain, etc.  Harder this year than last as he has “grown up” so much this past year and is just so much more “aware”.  Of course, I won’t tell him until probably the day or two before and won’t go into all of the details but I need to prepare him that he will be in a wheelchair for a while.  Fortunately, Peyton does know and they have discovered a new iPad game called Roblox which has a game that takes place in a hospital and you can have your characters play doctors and patients and get casts and be in wheelchairs.  She is such a good big sister and is teaching him that it’s OK to have surgery and be in a wheelchair through this game.  Sometime you have to appreciate technology!  Speaking of how grown up my kids are getting, Coleson still loves to sing but has matured his play list from Twinkle Twinkle and Wheels on the Bus to more a more eclectic collection.  He loves to sing and dance to “Just Dance” videos on YouTube.   From boy bands, (“Best Song Ever”) to classics and 80s like (YMCA, Final Countdown) to Pop like Katy Perry (Dark Horse), to Black Eyed Peas (“I’ve got the Power”).  However, I think our theme song this year is “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.  He really belts out this one. 

You might have noticed that this is my first blog entry in a while.  Life has been just so “normal” for the past few months which has been a welcome relief.   Let me see if I can recap the past 6 months:


I continue to develop my career at Honeywell.  My team is constantly growing in size as a result of organizational changes.  My team is over 40 employees now and I continue to expand my responsibility into more processes.  As the saying goes, the one constant is change and I can attest to that!  I have been getting back into running but have no ambitions to run marathons again.  I also do Zumba and Pound at the gym.  We have gotten more involved with local organizations like HopeKids AZ which is a non-profit that provides free fun events for families with kids with terminal diagnosis.   As there are only a handful of other MPS families in the family, we have really appreciated being a part of a bigger organization and are enjoying meeting other families who are going through similar experiences.  

Paul also continues to expand his career at Honeywell.  He was promoted last summer and now is responsible for a global team which means he is back to traveling overseas.  His most recent stress reliever is refurbishing his ’72 Corvette.  I can’t remember when he first started this project but our garage was starting to bulge out with 3 cars and an entire car’s worth of parts.  Fortunately he made great progress and many parts are back into the car including the wheels and engine and in fact the entire car is at the paint shop getting its original Bryer blue paint. 


Peyton is still doing well in school, although she would prefer to stay home and play all day.  She continues to enjoy gymnastics and also added violin, acting and drawing classes this year.  She dropped dance as ballet was not her style.  She is much more a contemporary and hip hop dancer and gets lots of practice alongside Coleson with the Just Dance videos.  She also spends probably too much time on her iPad mostly playing Minecraft or Roblox and watching YouTube.  She also can’t seem to walk without doing a cartwheel, a summer salt or some other parkour type of move.  She is older than her years and continues to be best big sister with the biggest heart.  She loves all animals, literally won’t even let me swat flies, and wants to be a pet sitter when she grows up.  I’m thinking this is more of a teenage job for her instead!  I definitely don’t think she will follow in our footsteps into the business world.  She is such a free spirit and has a knack for the stage and an audience so she may go in a completely different direction! 


As mentioned, this was a big year for Coleson as far as just “growing”.  He still swims like a fish and even dives down to collect items off the pool floor.  He still enjoys gymnastics and KTR (a parkour type of gym).  He is graduating pre-school after 3 years of the same school/teacher and transitioning to Kindergarten at Peyton’s school.  This will be a big transition for him.  I have been having the regular IEP meetings with the school and he actually is scoring in the average range for almost all of the disciplines.  In fact the only service he will be getting next year is speech and I think this is mostly due to the fact that he hasn’t had his upper 4 teeth since he was 2!  Hard to say “Fs” and “S”s with a window in your mouth.  Of course, we don’t know what to expect his recovery to be like after surgery and we may have to add on Physical Therapy for a while.  He wants to be a doctor, a firefighter or a construction worker.  I think he could also be a baker as he and Peyton both love to bake!  Cupcakes are their specialty.  


We have added a new addition to the family this year, our Yorkie Terrier mix, Bella.  She is a rescue pup who was rescued from a kill shelter in Texas.  She is the most people loving pup but a bit protective of us around other dogs.  I am taking her to training so we can train her to be more mindful and give her more appropriate puppy social skills.  Everyone that interacts with her agrees she is the just the best puppy.  We really did luck out with her.  


We have had a change with our nanny situation.  Rachel graduated and took a full time job in an old care facility.  Fortunately she works afternoons/evenings so she is still able to come in the mornings and help get the kids off to school.  I don’t know what we’ll do next year when hopefully she gets a job on the management side of a care facility and probably will work more “regular” hours.  We did find a college student, Jaclyn who has been coming in the afternoons.  She has been a fun (youthful) addition to the family. 


Will continue to update as we start our travels.  Thoughts and prayers are appreciated.