One Big Adventure
An opportunity to log in some of the thoughts and activities of our homeschooling family of eight. We love books and good food and aspire to a Christ-centered, multi-generational, agrarian life.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Poppins

While we were away, we missed out on some fun. Since we left the camera at home, we got to see some of the fun we missed! And you get to too!

Owen Poppins demonstrates proper technique.

Katie Poppins sets the standard.

Becca Poppins--with the perfect shoes for the job!

I heard there would have been a Carrie Poppins, but the umbrella was almost too heavy for Becca Poppins.

Have a wonderful day!

Love, Stephanie

Belated update

Well, I tried to do an update from the hospital Saturday evening and it was lost in cyberspace. Saturday was a boring day in the hospital day--which was just fine with us. We snuggled a lot and watched LOTS of episodes of the old TV Superman show. James is pretty fun to watch--he does the motions to the whole "faster-than-a-speeding-bullet; stronger-than-a-locomotive; able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. It's a bird, it's a plane......"

Mostly our goal was to keep him lying down, so the ever-so-slight pressure of the g-tube button inside his belly didn't press inside preventing further erosion and allowing healing to begin. Saturday night, we began using James' g-tube for feeding and Sunday morning he got a bolus of formula. There was no leakage and it didn't seem like it was getting any worse, so they discharged us on Sunday.

Between the time James got his IV out and we left, he was walking around (with the help of a Little Tikes shopping cart toy) and visiting some of the nurses. One even commented that she didn't know that James could use his legs! He was really doing great and all the nurses that had seen him back in April (when he had colitis and got his ileosotomy) were pretty excited for him. Of course, we were glad to head home and even more glad to BE home!

During our visit at the hospital, we ran in to Nathan Suerdieck and his mom, Allison. Nathan was having a BMT for a rare disease called, HLH. It usually occurs in small children, but Nathan got it last year in his teens. Just a year ago, they weren't sure he would even make it. Nathan has lots of medical issues to deal with now, but he has a great attitude and Allison is a big encouragement to me too. They live just 25 miles away from us, but we had lost touch when we all left the hospital... so we exchanged info and now we can keep in touch! If you would like to learn more about Nathan or pray for him (I know he and his family would be grateful), you can look him up on and enter his name.

When we 'moved in' from the car to the hospital, we met a very helpful young man on the elevator, Germaine, whose five-year-old son had been in the hospital for a week with inexplicable high blood pressure. We talked and shared and were able to pray with him. I'm sure he would appreciate any prayers you might offer for his precious son.

One thought I did have about regular hospital visits is to wonder if James would do better when he finally gets his ileostomy reversed, if we have some regular contact with the hospital and some of the nurses.

I should have written sooner (I did try last night, but couldn't sign it), because I don't remember all the silver linings from this visit, but there were more...

As always, the best part is coming home! Thanks for praying for us and checking in on us.

Love, Stephanie

Thursday, March 6, 2008

In the hospital

James is doing great. Dr. Tenjarla, his GI doctor, when ahead and admitted him last night. He can have anything he wants by mouth, but nothing by g-tube. Miraculously, he has taken all of his meds by mouth and, most of the time, willlingly! (thanks, in part, I am sure to grape flavored syrup!).

He has an IV and is getting fluids and he has been eating some, which is good (though the choice of foods is certainly not optimal!). Since we haven't used his g-tube in since 10 a.m. yesterday, it is doing much better and we do not think it is going to erode may more.

James got his last dose of steroids this morning, by mouth, and we are hopeful that things will only get better from here.

We have been blest to have nurses on his team--that means we know them and they know us. All have been tickled to see James and we are glad to see them too.

I haven't seen his counts yet, but have heard they are very good. His protocol calls for James to get chemo tonight, but they are wondering if they should give him a break. I think we should press on, as long as his counts are good.

Other numbers: While home, we figured that last year, between 28 February and 20 November, James and I (and mostly Hannah) spent at least 118 days in one hospital or another. Our last discharge date was 20 November, 2007, which was 106 days before our most recent admit (last night, 5 March). The main reason we are here is to prevent James' g-tube from further eroding. As soon as we can safely use the g-tube again (Sun, Mon, Tues would be my not-very-educated guess--the educated folks aren't making any guesses yet :*)).

The hardest thing is that James' IV is in his hand (we had the choice of putting it in his main signing hand or in his walking foot--so we chose the hand). Taping up his hand is almost the same as putting a gag around his mouth, but he really doesn't want to walk either, since he is uncomfortable using his taped and boarded arm to hold on to things. Occasionally, he growls (James on steroids), but mostly he is doing well. I think he'll be really glad to 1) have the family visit or 2) go home!

Later I hope to share some more thoughts on our ending up here and some of the silver linings.

Thanks for checking on us! Be blessed!

Love, Stephanie

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A good and timely quote

"Pain and suffering in this life are inevitable. Misery is optional."
Love, Stephanie

I spoke too soon

Actually, the g-tube was looking better--we all here agreed it was. In fact, it still looks pretty good from the outside. No signs of cellulitis or other infection yet, which is good. BUT, The actually g-tube button (called a MIC-key) is getting looser and it is looking to us like the site is, once again, eroding from the inside out.

SO, many phone calls later, we have an appointment with James' GI doctor this afternoon at 4p.m. We'll leave home around 1p.m. to allow time to park and all.

We have packed as though we were having a planned hospital stay, so we are prepared in the probably likely event that James' is admitted. We've not gotten up there this early before, so I'm really not sure what to expect. Whatever happens, I think we're covered, Praise the Lord!

Love, Stephanie

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring

And James' g-tube site is improving! Praise the Lord! So we are still home and really grateful. James is a little cranky, mostly due to steroids, I think. His g-tube site is still tender and needs to heal more. So please don't stop praying!

Thanks! And God bless you... each and every one!

Love, Stephanie

Monday, March 3, 2008

A quick update

We have been busy here. James has been a little needier the last couple of days and we have been working on homestead things--like clearing land and trying to plant 2 peach trees and a fig tree which were gifts for Vern's birthday. We hit another big root in the garden too. It wasn't a pine stump and so didn't burn like the second stump did. Today Owen was able to dig down further and cut it out. Yeah, Owen!

James is doing well, all things considered. His g-tube site is showing some signs of begin to erode. I spoke with several folks today and the wound/ostomy nurse attributes it to any form of pressure combined with steroids. James' oncologist said the steroids should be in his system enough to inhibit healing until day 10--day 1 on steroids was last Thursday, so day 10 is this Sunday. We have been using tylenol some to help with James' discomfort--the g-tube site is tender--and we are dressing the g-tube differently. If this doesn't help and it gets worse in the next day or so, we will need to see about getting James in to see Dr. Tenjarla, his GI doctor.

We continue to be grateful for your prayers and encouraging notes. We always enjoy hearing from you!

Thanks for checking on us.

Love, Stephanie