This week have been pretty uneventful as far as recovery goes, the leg is pretty much scabbed up and I am allowed to expose it to air to allow it to heal. The Dr. decided that we do not need to do anything to it now since it has pretty much healed on its own. It may need a surgery in the future to remove scar tissue / decrease the scar but that will be about a year from now if it needs to happen. I have been walking more and have even been able to pick up JW for brief time periods. I can’t walk very far with him but it does help me to corral him.
He had his birthday last week and even though we kept it a family thing, he had fun and loves his fire truck and tractor. I was able to take his 2 yr. portraits and he is pretty cute in most of them.
The hip is doing pretty well just keeping up with the bandage changes. The Dr. decided we could schedule the skin graft for two weeks from now so it is nice to have a date on it. The goal of the graft is to decrease the open parts of the would so I will still be left with some smaller areas that will continue to fill in and heal but I will not have the huge wound after the graft heals. The pain has been decreasing in the hip which has allowed me to cut back quite a bit on the pain medicine which is nice. Other than that just trying to increase my activity level which this week included playing lifeguard to the kids out in the kiddie pool. It was fun for them to play and nice for me to sit outside. Hope you all are doing well and we will keep you updated!
This past week has been very busy for our family. First we were able to fly to Nebraska to have some family time with Derek’s family. We stayed at his Sister Traci’s house and had lots of fun. I was able to go and though I spent lots of time in the recliner was able to have a fun time. We took the kids to the zoo, it was Heidi and JW’s first trip and they were pretty excited. Heidi was a little more reserved and stayed with her Aunt Traci most of the time “helping” her push her cousin Jackson around in the stroller.
JW wanted to get out of his stroller and try to touch everything. Derek had a fun time too.
They also had lots of fun playing at the house.
It rained for a good portion of the weekend but we were able to get a little bit of sunshine on Saturday and the kids played in the blow-up pool for a little while.
They traveled very well on the way there and back. No major meltdowns or tantrums. Over all it was a good trip and we have lots of pictures in the gallery.
My recovery has been going pretty well. I got the wound-vac off of my leg yesterday and I am now doing a wet to dry bandage change twice a day on it. It is nice not to be hooked up to a machine and has helped me to walk a little bit better since I am not trying to balance the machine and keep my self from getting tangled up in the hose. Traveling through the airport was ok, we had to get a wheelchair for me since I wasn’t able to walk as far or as fast as we needed to get through the airport in a timely manner. My hip is doing pretty well with only a couple of small spots of dead tissue. We go in to see Dr. Mockler later today and are hoping that he will schedule the skin graft so we can get the hip healing a little bit more. He will also close up the leg at the same time which will help the scar to be a little bit smaller than it would otherwise be. We hope you all had a good Memorial Day and took some time to remember our service men and all their sacrifice.
This week has been pretty good. We saw Dr. Shuler on Thursday and he loved how the wound looked. I will have the wound vac on for another week and a half and then he wants to go back to the wet to dry dressings to allow the wound to scab and finish healing. He told us that if it was not closed up by the time that I go in for the skin graft he would ask the Plastic Surgeon to close it up. He also told me that we would look at removing the filter he placed in about 6 months, after I finish the course of blood thinners.
The hip wound is continuing to heal and geting a little smaller, though it is still rather ugly. The dead tissue is continuing to decrease and there was not much for the Doctor to cut out at the appointment yesterday. He thinks that we might be able to schedule the skin graft after next weeks appointment.
I have been working on walking around the house without the walker. It has been going pretty well, but I do have to be careful to make sure I don’t do too much or my ankle swells up a little bit. I was also able to drive to Church on Sunday, which went pretty well. I drove the truck so that way I didn’t have to shift. It is not something that I want to do everyday but it is good to know that I can drive if I need too. The kids are doing great we are getting ready for JW’s birthday at the end of next week.
This week has gone pretty well. I have been walking more around the house and a little outside. I have been able to work more on keeping my left foot down while I am walking and been able take a few hops around the kitchen without the walker. I go in on Thursday to see Dr. Schuler who will be able to let me know how the progress is coming with the wound and what the next step is.
The hip wound is coming along pretty well. I saw Dr. Mockler for that today and he says that we will keep up with the bandage changes twice a day to help remove the rest of the dead tissue from the wound and then it will be ready for the skin graft. Due to the size of the wound it may take a couple of surgeries to completely close the wound after the skin grafts have taken, but we will know more about that in a few weeks when he decides it is ready for the graft.
I was also able to go to Church yesterday for the whole meeting block. It was nice to see all of my Primary kids and get to spend time as a family at Church on Mother’s Day. Overall the progress is going well and we are starting to get back to normal.
The second week of recovery has gone pretty well. The Wound-Vac has been changed another 2 times and the wound is shrinking in width. It is now about half the width that we started with. The length is slowly getting smaller as well. The tissue is healing well and both the Nurse and Doctor are happy with the progress. Below is a picture of the leg with the wound vac on, the black part is where the foam is inserted into the wound, and the suction hose is attached to the top. I have also been able to get my heel to the floor when I am walking which has increased my speed and range of motion in the ankle.
The hip wound is doing pretty well. Some of the dead tissue was debrided out during the surgery but not all was able to be removed as I started to bleed. The fat tissue under the skin is all dead but the muscle is healthy under that so that is a very good thing. I have been doing bandage changes on it twice an day using a solution called Dakins. That is a mild chlorine solution which helps to kill the bacteria that had started to grow and encourages new tissue to grow and start to granulate. We went and saw the doctor again today and he was pleased with the progress. He was also able to cut some more of the dead tissue out, and said to continue the bandage changes for another week. It is not my favorite part of the day but it is necessary to get the tissue healthy enough for the skin graft that will be coming in a few more weeks.
I was also able to make it to church for Sacrament meeting on Sunday. It was nice to be able to go to Church with the family and see people that I had not seen in over a month. The recovery continues to move forward, though it is slower than I would like I am very thankful for the progress. Thank you all for the continued support! It is much appreciated and felt very deeply.
Well things seem to be progressing pretty well. First of all the fluid in my lungs is completely gone. We saw the Pulmonologist last Tuesday and he looked at my x-ray and there was nothing in there which is great news. One thing taken care of. The wound vac was finally put on the leg on Wednesday and it seems to be helping the healing process. The first change was on Saturday and we sent a picture of the wound to the Dr. and he said it looked great. Hopefully this will help it to heal quickly. It is kind of weird to have a machine sucking stuff out and I have had to remember that I am attached to something all the time, but as long as it is working I will deal with it. Yesterday (Monday) we went to the Plastic Surgeon to look at the hematoma on my hip and he decided that it was time to go in and debride it. Which basically means that he will go in and remove all the dead tissue to allow the healthy tissue opportunity to grow so that he can go back in a few weeks from now and do a skin graft. So we are going to go into surgery this afternoon. Other than that I am just trying to put back on the 20 lb that I lost in the hospital, which is easier said than done with my food restrictions for the Ulcerative Colitis. I am sure I will be able to manage it some how! Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!
So it has been a busy time for out family. I have just finished spending 17 days in the hospital. Since most of you only have the facebook updates I will write the whole story out here and will then try to keep everyone updated on the recovery weekly.
Wednesday March 27 I had to give my self my monthly Cimzia injection. It is for my Ulcerative Colitis and helps to keep it under control, however it also suppresses my immune system. I gave the shot with no problems. The next afternoon after running around all morning with the kids doing errands I took off my sock and noticed that my left leg had started to swell. I called the Dr. and they told me to watch it as it could be a reaction to the shot, but if the swelling did not go down that I was to go in and get looked at the next day. The next morning started early as Derek left at 3 am for the youth temple trip to Orlando. The leg was still swollen and I made a call to my Dr. to have it looked at. The swelling was mostly in the left thigh with some residual down to the leg and foot. The Dr. looked and it and stated she was not sure what was causing the swelling and wanted me to go to the emergency room to get it looked at. Since I had the 2 kids with me I made some calls to friends and was able to get a few people from church to come and take care of the kids.
Once I was in the emergency room they started doing tests. My thigh by that time had become as large as a watermelon and the calf and foot completely swollen. They did and ultrasound and CT scan and found out that I had a blood clot from my knee to my belly button in the large vein that runs from the heart. The immediate concern was that a part of that would break off into my lungs causing a pulmonary embolism The treatment that was finally decided on was that I would have a vein filter installed to protect my lungs from any clot pieces and that they would go into the vein and start “sandblasting” the clot with anti coagulants. By this time Gary Aukema had come and he and Bro. Futch from our ward had given me a priesthood blessing. Bro. Futch was able to take the kids back to our friends house where they stayed the night. They took me in for the surgery and after I was out Derek had been able to make it back from the temple trip. Over the rest of the weekend they took me in every day and blasted some more of the clot. I was in the ICU due to the blood thinners they had me on which were assisting the clot removal. By Monday they thought they had gotten most of the clot, so I was then put on a medication called Coumadin. This is a blood thinner that I would be on for the next 4-6 months as was standard practice after a blood clot. I was moved from the ICU into a regular room and told if my levels of the Coumadin became right in the next few days I could probably go home by Friday. The first 2 days went well, then the levels of the Coumadin in my system changed and they increased the dosage. Due to this increased dosage my body had 2 violent reactions. The first was developing compartment syndrome in my left calf. Pressure from body fluid builds up in the calf and causes intense pain as the muscle expands against the sheath that it resides in. At the same time, I also developed a hematoma, which is a deep internal bleed, in my right hip starting at the middle of my thigh and going to the top of my right butt muscle. Both of these are some side effects of the Coumadin, but almost none of the Doctors had seen the complication at the same time in the same patient.
I had told my GI Dr. who visited me that morning about the calf and he sent me to get a CT scan of the leg, which was when they saw the compartment syndrome. He then called in the vascular surgeon Dr. Shuler who had a compression test done on the calf. They stick a long needle in to measure the pressure. Of the four compartments 3 were at 25 and the fourth was at 75 psi. They usually operate on anything over 20 so that Friday the 5th they operated at 7:30 at night to relieve the pressure, basically they make a long incision on the inside of the calf and a short one on the outside to allow the muscle room to expand. I was moved back to the ICU. The CT scan also revealed that I had May-Thurner’s syndrome. Which is where the artery pulses on top of the vein which causes the vein to not work properly and can trigger blood clots with the right circumstances. I had told them I stepped off our tractor a few weeks ago and thought I had pulled a muscle in my left thigh. They think the clot had already been forming but that event may have helped it get so big. I spent the next week in the ICU with the leg receiving dressing changes every 12 hours. The hematoma on the hip began to get a little smaller, and a plastic surgeon was called in to consult on it. He stated that it would eventually start sloughing but to keep it dry until that point. After the week was up the vascular surgeon took me back into the CI lab to clean out the rest of the clot and to insert stints into my vein to correct the May-Thurner syndrome. My heart rate dropped while I was under and they sent me for another CT scan which revealed I had some fluid in my lungs, so I started working on breathing and ended up on an anti-biotic. The next day I went back into surgery so they could close the leg wounds. I was able to go home Sunday night the 14th.
The first week went ok, the hematoma seems to be doing well the plastic surgeon will have to go in and clean it out but he wants the body to heal itself as much as possible. The leg wound started to weep and we ended up taking out all the staples and are packing it with a mild chlorine solution. I will be getting a wound vac on Monday which will replace the 3 times a day bandage changes and will hopefully help it heal faster. I will try to update every week and let everyone know how things are going. I know I have a long haul ahead but I know that Heavenly Father does not give us more than we can handle with his help! I have been blessed to have some great nurses and doctors that are going to help me get through this and a wonderful family that has dropped everything to come in and help out. I am very thankful for all the friends that have helped with the kids as well. I will keep you all updated as much as possible, thank you for all the prayers, love and support!
I just got back from attending the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races in Las Vegas with my Dad. It was a great father/son trip and since it was our first time to a NASCAR race it was a awesome experience. We had scanners and garage passes for Sunday to complete the experience. We were able to go down on pit road and get close to everything which is pretty cool and helped put the size of things in perspective. It is amazing how much information is easily at hand on TV and how much more you have to keep track of when you are physically at the race. Listening in on the teams over the radio and the NASCAR officials was a learning experience and definitely added to the experience. Most of the pictures are up in the gallery, but here a few of the favorites.
Tags: las vegas, nascar
Well we have been some busy people!
Christmas was really nice, we spent it with just us which was fun, especially getting to run around in our pajamas all day. We took a video of the kids which is in the archives, they loved coming out of their room and seeing their presents.
In January we took a trip to Arkansas with a stop off in Alabama to see our friends the Dransfields. Heidi and JW loved playing with their friends and we had a nice time visiting. It was fun to see them since they moved 9 months ago. In Arkansas we stayed the weekend with Dave and Dorothy Ellington, they were a couple that Derek met on his mission in Texas. He was the boot maker that hand made our boots, which are awesome. They were so much fun, Heidi and JW loved hanging out with them. We went to church with them and they have a small branch with only about 40 members so it was a lot different than what we were used too but still really nice. We are so thankful to have been able to go and see them and hopefully will be able to make another trip in the future.
JW is now 18 months old and is really starting to talk well. He loves calling his sister and talking about animals. He also has started nodding his head yes and no which is really cute. He is running and climbing on EVERYTHING! I have found him on the table a few times, on the back of the couch, and all sorts of other places. He also has come up with a great way to get his boots off.
Heidi is more vocal and loves to push her brother around, which he most of the time thinks is kind of funny. She is busy learning her numbers and letters and loves to do “school” everyday. Which is just working on worksheets and some number and letter cards, but as long as she likes doing it that is a good thing!
Derek has been busy at school, he passed his qualifier for his PhD so he will be finishing up his research and hopefully done in the next year. We are so proud of him he really did a fantastic job and studied really hard.
Nichole has been busy working the horses and working in Primary, she was called as the 1st councilor in the presidency and the kids have been keeping her pretty busy!
Things here keep rolling along pretty well just been very busy so we will try to update more frequently!
Merry Christmas! Here is our Christmas Letter for 2012 and we hope this finds everyone enjoying a wonderful Christmas Season!
Christmas Letter 12
Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW