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2014

First, the promised pics of my husband, the Ironman.  Truly, he is.

I felt impressed to document the last 3 years.  I know many details will be missing, but the main events are still vivid memories.

The year 2014 started with the birth of David Michael Dinsmore.  Praise God for him!

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The easiest way to see his journey during his first year is to sign up for Facebook and send me a friend request.  Ah, technology…

The rest of the year was one challenge after another.  Here is a list of the main events.

1/28/14 – Snow in Atlanta created gridlock in the city, followed by icy conditions.  James, David and I were stuck in the car for 11 hours trying to get home from a routine doctor appointment that day.  Will was stuck at school until our good friend Matt picked him up and brought him home.  Matt got a crash course in how to tube feed Will from Will’s teachers, then graciously stayed the night at our house with 2 of his girls.

Week of 2/10/14 – A GI bug strikes our household – James, Will and I are all vomiting and having diarrhea.  Thankfully, my friend Mary Jo happened to come for a visit that week to help take care of all of us, including newborn David.

2/15/14 – I get a call early this morning that my mom has been sent to the ER.  She had a pulmonary embolism.  She spends 1 week in the hospital, then 1 month in a skilled nursing facility receiving rehab to recover her body’s movement.  This is followed by additional rehab at home, and temporary help from a Visiting Angels service at her assisted living apartment.

2/23/14 – James wakes up complaining of abdominal pain.  He ends up in the ER, and is diagnosed with testicular cancer.  He started 9 weeks of chemo 3/10/14, followed by surgery on 6/10/14.

4/21/14 – Call from Will’s school that he has a big gash in his head from falling on the playground.  Will and I take an ambulance to the ER (this is the fastest way to be seen at least!).  They put Steri-Strips on it for closure, then send us home.  The wound ends up getting infected and becomes a granuloma.  Thankfully, it eventually heals after the Strips come off and after treatment with an antibiotic ointment.  Here is a picture of Will that Daddy posted shortly before this.  Interesting how his t-shirt says it all.

We did manage to make it to the beach at the end of May for vacation with our extended family, courtesy of James’ parents.

School started in August, and we get the surprise that Fulton County did not transfer Will’s 1:1 teacher with him to his new school.  We fought the battle to get her back, but it turns out the Lord had a different person in mind to fill the role.  He truly “equips the called.”  I will write more about Ms Mo later…

Here is Will’s birthday picture – 7/30/14 – 6 years old.

8/26/14 – My uncle Tom passes away unexpectedly at age 71.

9/19/14 – Romeo (my mom’s cat) is attacked by a vicious German Shepherd dog, and suffers from a broken femur.  It took 2 orthopedic surgeries to save his leg.

9/27/14 – The Mittens is attacked by the SAME dog.  Yes, 1 week later.  He ends up with a couple broken leg bones as well, but is able to be fixed with one surgery.  However, I vividly remember the grim report from the ER vet that he appeared to be paralyzed and incontinent.  Not this cat!  In fact, I believe he would have been killed during this incident if our neighbor had not intervened and pulled the dog off of him.  The goodness of the Lord.

We ended the year with Will getting the flu (even though he had the flu shot), as well as secondary pneumonia.  Thankfully, James was able to convince the ER doc that we could care for him at home.

Here is a shot of David enjoying the slide at Will’s PT.  He became such a big boy his first year.

So now it is 2017.  What became of all of this?

Testimonies:

-James is completely healed!

-My mom has completely recovered, although her walking is a bit weaker.  But she is able to walk!  She is continent!  There was a period of time that she had lost these skills as well as her ability to even stand and dress herself.

-My uncle Tom is in heaven.

-Romeo and Mittens completely recovered.

-Our church gave us $1,000 to help with medical expenses

-Family and friends came to visit to help out and provide meals

-Family and friends prayed for us

God said to keep my eyes on Him in the storm.  What a storm it was.  But he faithfully guided us through it, provided for us, and healed and restored all.  THANK YOU, Lord!

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Good news

We celebrated Will’s 5th birthday on August 2 with family and Will’s babysitters.  It was really fun. Will seemed to really enjoy his birthday this year.  Not so much the cake yet, except for the lighted candle of course.

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He did enjoy this birthday card.  When you open it, it not only plays music, but also has lights inside!  So cool!

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This car was by far his favorite present.  Good job, Uncle David and Aunt Sarah!  It plays music, lights up and goes very fast.

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It’s hard to believe he is 5 years old.  He started pre-K again on August 12, except now he is going to school full day.  I’ve had these mommy realization moments that from now on he’ll mostly be in school, not home with me.  My baby is officially a little boy, and I truly miss him when he is not home.  I am so grateful to the Lord that I was able to be home with him during the “baby/toddler” years.  This picture is from July; thank you, Daddy, for initiating and taking it!

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We had a rough start to the school year.  Will woke up on the first day of school with a nasty GI bug.  It was just a 24 hour thing with no fever, so he was able to make it to school for half the 2nd day.  Here is a picture of him on his first day.

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But then on Friday of that first week, he threw up after he got off the bus.  Riding the bus is a new thing this year (which he now loves), but it took some getting used to.  We had also transitioned him to stomach tube feeds, and were doing a feeding at 6am before school.  I think crying on the bus and having a full stomach was a bad combination, since Will is still getting used to swallowing.  As we all know, when we cry, we produce more mucus, which means more to swallow for Will.  I think this vomit was a result of the cough-gag-vomit phenomenon.

I also think he may have aspirated some of this vomit because by Sunday he had a fever.  We decided it wise to change him back to intestinal feedings for awhile to help him heal.  He can still throw up with intestinal feedings, but he does not throw up food.  He throws up clear mucus or yellow stomach acid if he does.  So, Will missed Monday of the second week of school too.  We ended up taking about a month off stomach feeds, but as of September 16 he is back on and been doing well.  Praise God!

Other news regarding school is that Will now has his special teacher!  She started October 7th.  As one of Will’s therapists said, this is “lightening speed” for a school district to provide such a benefit.  I know it is the hand of God on this that has made this possible.  God has promised me that Will will “hit the ground running” this school year and that he is accelerating Will’s healing.  Amen!  Thank you, Jesus!!!

Other progress is in feeding by mouth.  Will started with a new therapist on September 9.  Amazingly, she had one after school slot left!  Again, God’s favor!  Will has been seeing her weekly and he has been doing well “kissing” food.  He works on picking up various foods/textures (strawberry, chicken nugget) and placing them in a container.  Sometimes he is asked to “kiss” the food, so he puckers and we help him bring it to his mouth.  We also do this with spoonfuls of puree’, which sticks to his lips.  Inevitably, he gets some taste when it “accidentally” gets in his mouth.  We have even seen him actually lick applesauce off his lips!  In the last session, he began grabbing the spoon again and bringing it to his mouth.  I haven’t seen him do this much since last April when his curiosity was first sparked.  I am so thankful for this progress.  And even “acceleration,” as his therapy is now once weekly versus every other week.  Again, Go God!  Go Will!

As far as James and I, we have been keeping busy with work and managing our home (remember the 5 cats and 2 dogs…?  Yes, we still have them.).  James worked hard training for a half Ironman that he completed on September 29.  Congratulations, James!  Given the intensity of training, Will accompanied him on some runs.  I guess it wasn’t as exciting for Will, eh?  Good opportunity for a nap I guess!

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I have a couple more pictures to share of James in the Ironman… just have to have James help me get them off my phone (they are courtesy of a friend who spectated).

The final news to share is that Will is going to have a little brother to start the new year.  I am due January 27!  This is crazy, good news.  After much prayer and prompting from the Lord, we said yes.  It wasn’t long after we said yes, that we got the news.  I was suspicious, because I was feeling pretty nauseous in June.  But since I had a routine ob/gyn appointment on June 20 anyway, we just waited for them to do the test.  All is well!  In a way, this new baby will be like a first baby, because the last 5 years with Will have been way different than the norm.

As far as prayer… please continue to pray for Will’s restoration/healing.  I have God’s word/promise… it’s not a matter of if, but of when.  Please agree with me for His kingdom to come in Will’s life, because God asks us to pray His purposes on this earth.  Thank you!!!

Progress

Just when you think life can’t get crazier… it does.  Sorry for the lag in posts, but that’s exactly what has happened to us the last 4 months.

Will’s surgery on March 6 was a success.  It was a little different than I had envisioned though.  Rather than stitching the hole shut, his doctor actually just cut out the scar tissue to enable the hole to heal naturally.  It was supposed to heal in 7-10 days.  Will’s hole took over 3 months to heal completely!!!  Just when we thought it was healed, it would start to leak again.  Leak secretions! (Not an infection.)  Well, thankfully, no leaking has been observed since mid-June, and a week ago his surgeon declared the hole officially healed.  Here is one of our favorite pictures of Will that Daddy took this spring.

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The hole first appeared to be healed to us on April 11.  Just 3 days later, I tried some bites of food with Will and he actually liked it!  Or at least he was curious and willing to try it.  This was a huge step change from previous attempts.  The difference?  He can swallow!  It still needs to get stronger, but it is there!  He had a swallow study on April 30 that proved this.   Here is a picture of Will trying a popsicle.  He actually liked it!

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In fact, the study was good enough for his ENT to approve feeding Will into his stomach instead of his intestine.  Although still tube feeding, into the stomach means larger volumes over shorter periods of time.  Shorter periods of time mean more freedom from the food pump.  In fact, the end goal is to do six 20 minute feedings per day without it!

After much prayer, the decision was made to keep Will in his same class next year, but go full day.  I do believe this was the Lord’s decision.  In fact, He said that Will will “hit the ground running” next year.  Amen!  Here’s a picture of Will on the last day of school this year.

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Other big news is that I started back to work on April 21.  I work at Banfield Pet Hospital in Johns Creek on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday.  I took a 4 day surgery course to refresh my skills at the end of May.  I am so thankful I did!

James celebrated his birthday June 1.  His parents came to visit and brought a BIG cake!

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Will did extended school year again this year from June 3-June 24.  Unfortunately he got a horrible GI bug that made him miss 2 days of it.  Interesting that we had just gotten the plan to transition Will’s feeding just 2 days before he got so sick.  Seems that there is resistance to any good thing, but it is surely worth fighting for!

We met with a new audiologist to check Will’s cochlear implant map per the request of Will’s doctor.  She increased the sensitivity of the implant on July 5 to enable Will to hear better from a distance or with background noise.  He can hear, but we still need a breakthrough with his listening and talking!

We ventured up to Appleton, WI to visit with friends July 11-14.  Lots of driving but well worth it!

Here are we ladies at our fave restaurant… Apollon!

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Here is a pic of all the kids gathered around Will’s iPad.

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And here is a pic of all the adults… plus a photo bomb by Quinn!

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There is more news to share… but I will save it for the next post.  We are getting ready to celebrate Will’s 5th birthday this Friday with family and Will’s babysitters!  Stay tuned.

Milestone

We had a full house at Thanksgiving.  James’ parents, brother, sister and their families were able to come.  It was so nice to all be together.

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Our Christmas was much quieter, although we were able to get over to Huntsville just before Christmas to see James’ parents.  Will was fascinated with the Christmas tree of course.

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God gave us a wonderful Christmas gift this year.  As I mentioned in the last post, there was a suspicion that Will still had an airway obstruction based on the inability to anesthetize him with his nose/mouth during his ear tube surgery.  His doctor ordered a sleep study to test this suspicion, which Will completed December 18.  On December 23, his doctor sent us the results.  The study was EVEN BETTER than his last study.  Not only that, no intervention is needed for Will’s breathing!  God finishes what He starts.  Amen!

Even though the trach tube was removed July 6, the hole in Will’s neck has remained.  It’s been almost 8 months of frequent bandage changes.  Not to mention that Will hasn’t been able to talk, since air escapes out the hole and does not move past his vocal chords.  We have surely missed his voice!

Thankfully, Will’s ENT has agreed to close the hole this Wednesday, March 6!  Part of the reason for the delay is to wait for cold/flu season to pass, as well as give the wound ample time to heal.  We are so excited to reach this milestone and to have ALL aspects of the trach behind us.

The other good news is that Will has been swallowing much better!  He swallows his saliva once every 2-4 minutes (typical person swallows once per minute).  This is a huge improvement compared to not swallowing at all (the trach tube used to inhibit his swallowing).

We are rejoicing in all this good news.

Here is a picture of Will and Daddy playing in the park the day after Christmas.

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And here is a picture of Will during a family outing to the park in January.  Yes, it was warm enough for short sleeves.

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Will got a nasty respiratory infection to start the new year… the doctor even suspected pnuemonia!  We spent an entire day at the pediatrician and hospital for testing, including chest rads and bloodwork.  Thankfully, a round of antibiotics and steroids got rid of it, and he only “seemed” sick for one day.

I think this is all the news for now.  Will continues to LOVE school.  Here is a picture of him playing with his friends this week.

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Will loves to do puzzles now and his balance is really improving outside.  He continues to climb and LOVES playing with his Ipad.  He is good at kicking AND throwing a ball now, and is learning to catch.  Thankfully, he loves his therapies and continues to “show off” when he wants to.  He is even demonstrating the ability to “clean up” by putting blocks back in their container AND the lid on.  He loves to ride his tricycle at PT and races through the hallways.  His therapist decided to “challenge” Will by putting cones in his path to steer around.  Amazingly, he whizzed around them the first time!

He is definitely hearing, but not always listening (typical kid, huh?).  I was so happy recently when I asked him if he wanted to play Ipad, he got up from the floor and went over to the table where we play with his Ipad.  He UNDERSTOOD the words alone and responded.  He also continues to put his hand in our mouths or on our throats to learn about talking… he wants to understand how the words are formed and where the sound is coming from.  I feel like he understood the words “I love you” this way before bedtime one night.  It filled my heart with such joy.

Never a dull moment

It’s been a full couple months.

September ended with a healing service at our church.  A word of knowledge for the hearing impaired was spoken, so we took Will up for prayer.  Immediately after the service, it seemed that Will was hearing in his right ear.  And even the day after!  I am so thankful for every touch from God.  As God promises in Isaiah 55:11 regarding His word: “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

October began with a car accident.  The Camry was totaled after I was T-boned trying to turn into our neighborhood.  It was a time of heavy morning traffic, where the car that hit me seemed to come out of nowhere!  Thankfully, I had already dropped Will off at school, although he would have been fine had he been in the car.  It was a bit freaky though that the back rear tire and door was hit on the passenger side, so I am glad that he wasn’t.  I prayed that God would work even this for good (Romans 8:28), and indeed He provided.  We now have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata.  We are so grateful for this new ride!

October ended with an ear tube surgery.  On 10/15, Will’s ENT discovered that the tube had fallen out of his left ear, and because of this Will had developed an ear infection in that ear.  During the anesthesia for the procedure, it was discovered that Will is still using the hole in his neck to breathe.  They actually had to put a “trach” in the hole to anesthetize him.  The ENT has recommended that we see a craniofacial doctor for an evaluation.  Also, Will’s pulmonologist would like another sleep study to determine and quantify any obstruction that is still occurring.  Stay tuned.

Here’s a picture of Will in his Halloween costume.  He wasn’t so sure about the vest, but finally gave into his parents’ desire for him to “dress up.”

Speaking of vests, Will’s hippotherapist decided to take on the challenge to get Will to wear a vest during his session last week.  Since she got him to wear a helmet, she is obviously a miracle worker!  Ha!  Seriously, since Will enjoys riding his horse so much, it is worth the helmet.  This is classic Will… there must be value in doing something and when he sees the value, he wants to do it.  Smart kid.

My friend Kerry came to visit in November.  It was so great to see her; I felt like she was my early birthday present!  I had a nice birthday celebration this year.  James and I were able to go out for a bite to eat while our friends Sue and Genene babysat.  Brave souls they are!  We got a much needed date night in October too, thanks to these two ladies.  Our friends the Sharps also had a birthday dinner for myself and Matt (our birthdays are 4 days apart).  It was very nice!  Here Will is enjoying a pile of leaves at their house.

Will is also enjoying playing on the playground more!  He especially loves the slide and the swing.  Our church happened to have this giant slide one Sunday from a previous event that weekend.  Will and Daddy decided to give it a go!

We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with all the Dinsmores this week.  We have so much to be thankful for.

I’ll end this post with some revelation I received this week.  This is God’s heart for us (this is an excerpt from a prayer meeting of the early church):

Acts 4: 29-30 “…grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.”

We speak His Word “by” demonstrating His Power to heal, save and deliver!  We all need to truly encounter God to be transformed and persevere.

Thankful

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I am thankful.  Thankful for God’s love.  Thankful for my sweet husband.  Thankful for Will.  I know God has carried us these last 8 years.  And even before that, I know, but I began truly walking with Him then (or at least aware that I am walking with Him!).

I am thankful for family and friends.  For every word of encouragement and every prayer.

I am thankful for every victory.  Will’s life.  Will’s healed nose.  No trach.  That he can walk by himself unassisted.  That he is even running now and starting to climb.  That he likes to slide and to swing!  That he is able to be a little boy.  That he can hear.  That he can see.  That he can swallow.  That he can talk.  God will finish what He has started.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

I am also reminded of the promise the Lord spoke shortly after Will’s birth:

John 9:3 “This happened so that the power of God could be seen in him.”

I am thankful for grace.  His grace is all I need.  Really.

2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

How amazing is that?  Not just my mistakes, but the mistakes done to me too.  God is sovereign.  However, just because He is sovereign, DOES NOT mean that He is causative.

I am thankful for His promises.  God always keeps His promises.  God never takes back His promises.  God’s promises never fail.  He promises to save us, forgive us, be with us, protect us, meet our needs, save our children and give us a bright future.  We have the right to expect and claim the performance of God’s promises in our lives.

2 Cor 1:20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

I am resting this this promise today.

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Breakthrough

THE TRACH IS OUT!  GLORY TO GOD!

I received a call the morning of July 6… when can we get to the hospital?  There is an opening!  Backtrack a few weeks… June 19 Will completed his final sleep study.  There was a peace about it, and I clearly heard the Lord say, “Having done all, stand firm.”  Also, a friend had gotten a word that THIS time would be different.  THIS time He would carry us.  “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.”  This is the year of breakthrough… and when God sends the wave in your direction you ride it into a higher level of living in your life.  You cannot generate a breakthrough, you can only ride the wave WHEN GOD SENDS IT TO YOU!!! 

June 28 we got word from the doctor that Will would get the opportunity to get his trach removed the week of July 9.  His sleep study was improved compared to the last one, and although not perfect, it was good enough for a chance.  Needless to say we were a bit surprised to get the call early, but we rode the wave!  3 days later on July 9, Will was discharged without a trach.  He was ready to go!  Here’s a picture of us leaving the hospital after a long 3 days.  The typical stay is 24 hours, but Will’s ENT wanted to make sure he was OK due to concerns with his secretion management.

A large part (if not all) of Will’s secretion management issue is due to swallowing difficulty.  The major contributing factor in Will’s swallowing difficulty was the trach itself.  However, even though it is gone, his muscles have not been swallowing much (if at all) the last 4 years!  Just like having a cast on a limb, if muscles are not used, they atrophy.  So, Will has started a new therapy called VitalStim.  He has had three sessions so far, and is tolerating it well.  The Lord’s hand is definitely in this!  I am so thankful!

We finished the month of July with a big trach out / birthday bash.  Will turned 4 on July 30.  He played in his cake again this year.  Next year he will be eating his cake!!!, in Jesus’ name! 🙂

Thank you to all the family and friends that came over to help us celebrate.  Especially, Aunt Leesa & Uncle Jason from Birmingham and Uncle David & Aunt Sarah from Durham!  Here is a picture of Will with all his cousins: Jack, Holden and Maddy (and Aunt Sarah since Maddy is too little to pose).

And the 3 siblings…

August and September have been months of transition.  Our night nursing ended on 8/19.  Since then one of us has been staying in Will’s room with him.  Although there is no longer any suctioning, Will has needed oxygen off and on at night.  Because of this, he still wears a pulse oximeter to monitor his oxygen saturation level.  We’ve been chasing him around his bed with the oxygen mask (which we set near his face), rather than subjecting him to a nasal cannula.  Lately, he’s been throwing the mask away from him, so thankfully his oxygen needs have been minimal if at all.

Will also started a new school year on August 13.  Here is a picture on his first day.

He goes 5 days a week now, but just in the mornings.  His afternoons are still busy with all his private therapies and the occasional doctor appointment.

Will also started hippotherapy in August.  This is therapy while riding a horse!  It is great for strengthening his trunk.  We couldn’t believe Will let the therapist put a helmet on him!  He had a couple “teary” sessions because of it, but this last week, he was all smiles.

I was able to go to San Diego in August for continuing education, since I need it to renew my veterinary license at the end of the year.  James was able to spend a weekend with friends in Chicago in September in honor of their fantasy football draft.  I also got a weekend of much needed rejuvenation in June spending time with the Lord and with friends in Wisconsin, as well as a friend came to stay in August to help and encourage.

Another praise report:  a lawsuit for compensation for my mom’s personal property damage settled in the final hour for more than the maximum small claims judgement.  Thankful that this is done after 2 years!