Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Making of a Super Hero

On Tuesday, November 23, we started our day pretty early. The team had tried to have our appointment moved to the morning but they weren't able to. So Ronin's appointment ended up being at 12:30. Of course, she was not allowed to eat for 8 hours prior to her procedure so the Captain suggested getting her up at 2:00 am to feed her a meal. It would help her to not be so extremely hungry all day long. So at 2:00 am, I woke her up, and fixed her two organic maple cinnamon waffles loaded with soy free Earth Balance and maple syrup. I fed her the waffles and about 1/3 of an organic fuji apple while we watched an episode of "Roseanne" on the sofa. We struggled to go back to sleep. We laid in bed and chatted about her surgery, what it would feel like, and her "good place" (an idea from this book). She determined that her "good place" was in her mama's sweet sweet arms. Wow.

We did sleep a little while and then we got back up and anxiously waited. Drayken was already with his grandparents so we didn't have him to deal with. Ronin was ready to roll by 7:00 am. I was too really. I made some carrot, beet, cabbage, green apple, kale juice to help prepare me for a day of fasting and/or potential junk food meals. Eventually it was 9:00 and time to leave.

When we got to the hospital we were able to go to the 6th floor to see Daddy and Hunter for a few moments. I finally got a good photo of his blue Toy Story Christmas tree that he invented in his head and we were luckily able to bring to fruition. I think it's gorgeous.

Finally it was time to head down to the third floor to surgery. We went in, walked up to the podium, signed in, and then sat down to join in on the pandemonium. It was seriously insane in that waiting room. Shocking to imagine that so many children were having surgery in one day. Walking into that room brought back some really strong emotions from the day that Drayken had surgery. My dad was already there and it was really good to see him. We all sat and talked for what felt like an eternity. They called me up to the window to do paperwork, etc. During that experience I discovered that they had Ronin in the system as a boy so they had to redo her file when I informed them that I'm nearly certain that she is female.

We sat a while longer. People started showing up. Friends and family came. Nurse Becky came out to talk with us. Amanda from child life came and brought Ronin a backpack filled with goodies such as a Barbie, Barbie camera, notebooks and paper (ideal gift for her), pencils, pillowcase, and lots of other things.
After what felt like forever, we were finally called back. Since the Captain never came down to the third floor, I took Tawnie back with me as the other parent. We were taken to the pre-op room where we got Ronin changed into some Vanderbilt pjs. In that room, we talked to a lot of different people... nurses, anesthesia team, transplant team, Dr. Clint, more nurses. We answered a lot of questions and got to enjoy a code Red. Dr. Clint was in the room when the code Red was called. I asked, "What is a code Red?" and he shrugged and said in the funniest way possible, "A fire." I thought Tawnie and I were going to pass out from the laughter. That guy missed his calling. He should be on tv! (Of course, he's a kick butt Pediatric Oncology Doctor too).

Finally it was time for her to go back to the OR. They whisked her away quickly because she was pretty upset as she didn't realize I wouldn't be allowed to be with her in the OR. I had a bit of a breakdown on the way down the hall. But I made sure she was gone before I walked out of the room. Didn't want her to see me crying.

In the waiting room I was unable to eat. I spent the two hours anxiously watching the doors and chatting with my two sisters, Debbie and Tawnie. I was so beyond thankful to have their love with me that day. It's a terribly lonely feeling to have one child in surgery and one stuck in a hospital room three floors above you. Those two ladies helped me to feel calm and okay through the whole ordeal. We laughed and used Michael's phone to let Deb in on the "Bed Intruder" joke. She now knows about Antoine Dodson, the Annoying Orange, Numa Numa, and that we are loud lunatics!

After what seemed like forever and yet just a minute, Michael and I were called into the consult room. Dr. Domm and Nurse Becky came in shortly with the cooler and the bone marrow. We got to look at the bone marrow and of course do some more laughing. We laugh a lot with the whole team. I'd love to have a dinner party with all of them after all of this is over with. They all have such great energy. In this photo they are laughing over Drayken's cheesy face that he happened to be making at the time.
So this is what bone marrow looks like.
And then they put it back in the cooler and rushed off with it to take it to the lab for a cell number count (the most important bit of information about the marrow) and to process it to get it ready for Hunter.
Then I got to go wait again until they finally called us back to the recovery room. I didn't take a picture for a while once I was back there. She was really pitiful. Very very very pitiful. She kept trying to talk but she couldn't from the breathing tube. I just sat with her. Kissed her little head. Told her thank you and told her to just wait, she'd start feeling better. She had a red cherry popsicle and it was hard for her to get it in her mouth. Over the next four hours we made many trips to the rest room and she threw up two times. She drank some Sprite (for the first time in her life). She had another popsicle. She had some applesauce. She had some white cherry icee. She tried to drink some Vitamin Water Zero. She slept off and on. It was a very difficult four hours. At some point she woke up enough to ask to watch a movie. They didn't have any kid friendly movies so we chose "Pretty In Pink"... which is one of my favorite movies of all time. Of course, despite her stupor, she picked out a certain word that starts with an "s" to ask me what it means. Sigh. Fun Times.

The vomiting finally stopped and she started to get around well on her own. So they released us and we drove home.
We got home at about 8:30. I made us all waffles and a light smoothie. She ate/drank every bite of her dinner. She had one dose of oxycodone and then we watched some of "The Brady Bunch" and dug through a box of handmade cards that were left on our front porch.

Happy Thanksgiving. I'll post about the bandage removal later but Ronin is doing great!


  1. Your situation is heart wrenching. Please know I am praying like crazy for your family. I am thankful that we are alive in this day and age where such things are medically possible for us.

  2. I am so happy Ronin is doing well. Love the Little kitty earrings and all the photos. She is a super hero in my book. Hunter's blue tree is awesome. I hope he is able to eat something now. I've had you all on my mind and you will stay in my prayers.

  3. Ronin is a wonderwoman super hero!!! I am so glad it went well and is behind her. I am anxious to hear how Hunter is dealing with his new cells!!!

    I hope you had a good birthday. I thought about you all day long yesterday (as typical!) Praying for you and your family and Hunter the amazing fighter!

  4. So wonderful!! What a little trooper! I LOVE the Toy Story Christmas tree!!!

  5. What a strong and amazing family you have. All of this was read with tears. I am so glad all seems to be going well. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Just wanted you to know that you are in our prayers. My twins wanted to send a letter to Hunter....I meant to include a photo so you would maybe recognize them, but forgot. So, when you get a letter from Ross and's from us :)


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