Thursday, September 12, 2013

Josiah's Huge Day

Woohoo!!! The day our whole family has been waiting for finally arrived. Little Josiah got all fixed up yesterday. It was a seven hour surgery and included seven different procedures and four surgeons. First, the general surgeon did a lung biopsy to see if he will be a candidate for a heart repair (we’ll have results in a few days). Then the same surgeon repaired Josiah’s inguinal hernia (every doctor who had seen him said it was the biggest hernia they had ever seen!). Then the craniofacial surgeon came in and repaired the cleft palate and then the cleft lip, and he was even able to close up the cleft gum (he hadn’t thought there would be enough tissue to do this part, but there was!!) Then the dental team came in and did massive dental work on Josiah’s poor little rotted teeth (I don’t think they were ever brushed at the orphanage). And finally the ENT surgeon came in and put a tube in his good ear (his other ear is missing an ear canal to the ear drum, and that will be addressed at a later time, after we know what is happening with his heart.

I have Dr. Campbell, Josiah’s heart surgeon, to thank for getting all of these surgeries coordinated at once! Apparently he has a lot of clout around here and he made some calls, telling the various practices that he’d like to have Josiah get as few separate surgeries as possible due to being a high risk anesthesia patient. As I understand it, going under anesthesia is like going on a airplane….the take-off and landing are the most risky, but while you’re up in the air, it’s pretty smooth sailing. Going under, and coming out of anesthesia are the most risky—especially with Josiah’s heart defects. So all of the doctors really scrambled together to make it happen, and we are SOOO grateful to them all—they are incredibly wonderful men and we could not have been in better hands.

So here are two pictures of little J in the ICU recovering after surgery. It looks like he got in a fight and lost, but we know that he really WON! Praise God!! He’s all swollen right now so we don’t see the finished product, but I know he is going to be SO happy when he feels/sees that his mouth is repaired. He was asking us every day if he was going to the hospital to get his mouth fixed (said it was broken) and we kept assuring him, “Soon….we’re going to the hospital soon to get you all fixed up!”

Now he will need extensive orthodontic work to reshape the gums and reposition the jaw, etc. And now he starts intensive speech therapy. I can’t wait to see if he is able to make some of those consonant sounds he previously couldn’t. And with the tube in his ear, he should hear a little better, so that will help as well.

Even though it was all about Josiah yesterday, we can’t forget what a HUGE day it was for Steven also. He went to the eye specialist for his ERG, to see if his retinas are healthy and responsive. He has a mild cataract in his “good” eye and a severe one in the eye that’s nearly blind. So, if the test comes out well and shows the retina hasn’t atrophied then they will plan to do cataract surgery on him, in addition to straightening the cross in his eyes. Please pray for a positive outcome…..he is SO hopeful. Steven got his new glasses recently—a very thick lens for the “good” eye and no prescription on the bad one. He was counting down the days for those things to arrive…telling us every day, “My glasses are coming soon! I’m so excited!” The glasses help him with his far vision and make things clearer but they do nothing for him up close and he actually takes them off when trying to do his school work. So this will be addressed at his next appointment.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to home school all seven kids. Well, I decided that there is no rush in making my decision and that I can enroll them at any time in public school, so I’m just keeping them all home right now and seeing how well they respond to what I can do with them here at home. The three boys have been home now for three months and have bonded wonderfully but of course, bonding is a long process and I think it’s better facilitated when they’re here than at school all day. I have some great friends I've met through Facebook who have been giving me a ton  of ideas and curriculum I can use that will help a lot! We were able to scrounge together seven computers….mostly from family members giving us an old one they weren’t using any more. And I’ve been able to find some really great educational web sites. I’m not a fan of learning so much in front of the computer, but all seven of the kids feel differently and they can really sit focused and learning that way so I may have to cave in and let them do a lot of their work that way and then just not let them use computers for anything else—get outside instead and play, or read books, play with legos, etc.

We started the most wonderful thing with two of my sisters-in-law and their homeschooled children. It’s an adaptation of the Classical Conversations program. We learn  the CC Timeline, history facts, bible verses and math concepts, etc. through song memorization. I spent hours making up most of the songs myself and now have the whole year’s worth recorded onto CDs. Then we do an art lesson each week (learning to draw) and a group piano lesson each week ( and a short health lesson, and we focus on a holiday (right now focusing on the Fall Jewish feasts in the Old Testament) and we do a science experiment with the kids and have a focused prayer time. We just started last week and all of the kids really like it. Right now we call it “Friday School” as none of us have taken the time to come up with something more creative!

Baking and doing a Feast of Trumpets craft

And lastly, Benjamin--he's  doing really great—learning a lot of English……and, the main thing that needs to be mentioned is that….he is such a PRAYER WARRIOR. I am not kidding nor exaggerating. If someone has a need, Benjamin is the first to jump at the chance to pray. And he prays with power and authority. Sometimes I listen to him and think, “Wow! How did he learn to pray like that?!” I do not doubt that one of the reasons Josiah did so well yesterday was because of the intense, daily prayers of his big brother!! God was not going to let those prayers be in vain!! Seriously, when other adults hear him pray they want to cry and they just watch him in amazement and then are like, “Will you pray for me too?” lol God definitely has a plan and purpose for each of these sweet boys.

I'll be at the hospital for the next two or three days as Josiah is recovering.  Last night was my turn to stay with him overnight (my husband and I will take turns) and I felt guilty because I slept in a tiny sleeping room instead of staying by his bedside, but I desperately needed the rest, as the night before, I had only slept for two hours--partly because I was so excited about the surgery, and partly because I had been dealing with a huge flood in my house all day from my washing machine breaking--and the adrenaline that kept me going all day, carrying out furniture and drying stuff, etc. just did not want to stop pumping enough for me to fall asleep!!  So now I'm sitting in his ICU room typing this post and checking on him, after having a pretty decent night's sleep, thank God.  They should be taking out his breathing tube and weaning him off of the morphine soon.  I’ll post more pictures of Josiah when they do, and will keep everyone updated on news of his heart and Steven’s eyes. Thanks for praying for us and the boys. Blessings!! Lisa   For regular updates, friend me on Facebook!

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