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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Up in stitches . . . five, actually


I didn’t realize there was an initiation for turning four, but it seems Alexa may have stumbled (literally) into a rite of passage by making her first trip to the ER. On Sunday evening, I headed to Starbucks to make the most of some time away to work on a slideshow for Alexa’s 4th birthday party as well as write her a letter. (I have a brilliant running list of all the things I want to do for her party, but I have a terrible time executing them.)

Anyway, about an hour into my “creative” party-planning time, Chris calls and said he is headed to urgent care – Alexa bit through her lip. I didn’t ask any questions. I just said tell me where you’re taking her. I loaded up the computer, battery, external hard drive, pages of notes, headphones, etc . . . and drove like a “bat out of hades” to be with my girl – praying all the while that God would calm her fears, her pains, help her be brave, and grant us excellent & caring nurses/doctors. I also prayed whatever happened to her lip could be repaired in such a way her lips would be spared and God would protect her gums/teeth. I know I am partial, but I believe God gave her a beautiful set of smackers and I didn’t want an urgent care doc to butcher them.

After all I have gone through physically this year, I know how critical it is for a “girl” to still feel she is beautiful. (Goodness knows, I don’t look at ALL how I used to and it is hard to see an emaciated stranger staring back at me in the mirror. I don’t like how I look anymore. I just don’t. I no longer look or feel like “Kelsey.” However, I am 35 and I can get over it.) Regardless of that side note, I don’t care how superficial that may sound, I didn’t want Alexa to have to see a huge scar or a botched lip on her face the rest of her life and struggle with self-image because of it. Anyway – those were the prayers racing through my mind as I met Chris, my parents (who just happened to be at our house preparing juice packets), and my precious little girl.

While I applied ice to her mouth and rocked our sad Alexa bear, I got the story on how she fell. Apparently, she wasn’t even rough-housing with Daddy – which is a very common occurrence. They were playing with Legos when she decided to jump over Chris’ legs. She said she was going to grab the coffee table with her arms (which is constructed of metal and glass), but I guess she tripped on Chris’ legs and her mouth took the brunt of the fall on the edge of the coffee table. I am so thankful her teeth were intact, and I was so thankful I wasn’t there. My dad said he will never be able to get the sound of her mouth hitting the table out of his head. And since I have also bitten through my lip, I knew it was probably very bloody. My mama’s heart may have lost it if I had seen and heard it real-time. I was grateful to meet them there and hold her, bloodied t-shirt and all, after the fact.



We met with two sweet and straightforward docs at the urgent care clinic in Norman. Fortunately, the three inside punctures would heal on their own – no stitches required. Unfortunately, they said the outside bite had cut just close enough into her vermilion border (which is the sharp demarcation between the lip and the normal skin) that it would require stitches. Not only that but the stitches needed to be perfectly aligned with the vermilion border and skin or it would heal crooked and her lips wouldn’t look right.

Right then, we decided it was best to go to OU Children’s Hospital to see if a plastic surgeon could do the stitching. So, we headed to OU Children’s Hospital while Alexa rested. She did ask if her cousins (Rylen & Layton) could be there. So, my sis and Rylen left church to be with us at the ER. I was so thankful my family could join us, including my parents. It seems we get to spend a lot of time as a family in medical facilities anymore. Regardless, this greatly lifted Alexa’s spirits and gave me more peace of mind.

Long story short, we received excellent care at Children’s. We actually knew the first doc Alexa met with so that was a huge answer to prayer. He also encouraged stitches by a plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon, Dr. Johnson, was so gentle with Alexa and he did a beautiful job on her lip. The greatest blessing was Alexa was a  “warrior princess.” She never shed a tear at the hospital. They didn’t “papoose” her – which is a normal procedure for children when they need to remain calm and still. Alexa simply held my hand and was compliant with every one of Dr. Johnson’s requests. She didn’t flinch when Dr. Johnson gave her several numbing shots in her mouth and weaved stitches in and out of her lip. All of the medical staff was amazed at how brave she was. She truly was a rockstar, even chatting with Dr. J while he fixed her up. We are so thankful God answered our prayers. And . . . we all got a little comic relief with Alexa’s antics after the procedure. The numbing meds definitely loosened her up. Just check out her groggy eyes below.

Alexa finally fell asleep around midnight. She is doing great minus complaining of pain in her gums/front teeth. The wound looks like it is healing very well. We have always taught Alexa God will heal her ouchies (we pray that for her and for Mommy every day). We will continue to watch and pray for the Lord to show us His faithfulness.

Who would’ve thought both Alexa and Mommy would have had work done by plastic surgeons in the same year!! Goodness, Daddy has two high-maintenance gals on his hands!!

We love you sweetie and we are so proud of our very brave, full-lipped four-year-old!! You will look soooo tough for your pirate birthday party!


On another note, I may not post a blog until A’s party since Chris’ parents will be coming in tomorrow and the house is in disarray, so I wanted to pass along a few prayer requests as we also prepare for another trip to MDA later next week.

--That Alexa’s lip would heal without infection or incident. That the scars will barely show and the alignment will be correct. Thus far, she has been patient with Mommy’s obsession to ensure it stays clean and medicated. She will have a follow-up with Dr. Johnson next Monday, March 24.

--For about two weeks, I have been experiencing increasing pain in my right calf. This is one of two places Dr. B identified small spots on my last PET scan. I have struggled with discouragement and anger since the pain commenced. It is so frustrating to finally feel like one area is healed and then have to deal with another. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel good enough to exercise again. Pls pray this pain would subside and God would miraculously destroy this spot before my next PET scan on Friday, March 28. My trust in God is always tested when new pain rears its ugly head.

--My two herniated discs have become increasingly more painful as well – especially around the right side of my ribs and sternum. I am struggling (again) to take deep breaths. Again, we are praying for miraculous healing as there is little they can do to treat these and I refuse to stop being a Mommy because they hurt.

--We are still asking the Father to allow my chemo pill, Votrient, to work. If the spot on my calf is cancer and is growing, we know that isn’t the case, and disease could be spreading to other areas. From what Dr. B has told us, there isn’t really another treatment option if it isn’t working. We, of course, continue asking Him to stop the spread of this nasty disease in my body – no more disease in my bone or soft tissue, and divine protection for all of my organs – especially my lungs.

--Speaking of lungs, my antibiotic seems to be working in clearing out my lungs and sinuses. I am still coughing but it isn’t as productive. I would love to have clean, healthy lungs again.

--We are praying that the results of the second part of the case study I enrolled in  at MDA will be available. This dealt with genetic testing. We are praying the results will provide more insight as to how to better treat me on an individual basis concerning this rare disease. We are praying for Dr. B to have the wisdom to know how to interpret the results.

--Of course, I always dread the MDA countdown. Please ask the Father to help me continue to put my trust in Him, to enjoy each and every day (without as many tears), to choose to push pain aside and enjoy time with my family – especially at Alexa’s big #4 party. I want to be “present” every moment of the celebration. After all, she is our biggest present from the Father.

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