5:43 PM

Picking Our Path

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kaleb had a busy week. He came down with the sniffles so we spent a good chunk of our day suctioning our poor little guy. We ran the vaporizer constantly. He's back to normal now. Even throughout the runny nose he was still a very good baby. We are so blessed :)

We headed down to Children's to see the Plastic's Specialist on Tuesday. We both felt very nervous with all of the decisions facing us. What road would be best for our little boy? Walking through Children's made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. "What hand?" I kept thinking as we saw all the sick faces in the hospital. We finally made it to our doctor and waited for almost an hour to see him. When he finally came in and did an exam he weighed out our options:

1. Surgery- He stated he would NOT do our surgery. He stated that Kaleb is PERFECT. A hand transplant is much more complex than most transplants. Bones, nerves, muscles... everything has to be in "sync." Brian and I would have to move to Lexington for 6 months and it would cause Kaleb tremendous pain and rehab. And after all that his transplant could fail leaving him more scarred than before. He told us there are other surgeons who would do this surgery but he highly recommends against this route.

2. Prosthetic hand- Kaleb could come down when he's 2 and they'll fit him for a hand. Each year the prosthetics get more advanced and easier to use. He would get refitted each year or with any growth spurts. Kaleb's doctor told us that he will probably get fitted, learn to work with the hand and then come home and chuck it in his toy box. By the time Kaleb is 2 he'll have perfect use of his "helper hand." We both liked the sound of that, 'helper hand.' He has a full rotation on it (like a wrist) and some beginning bones in his wrist so it will be even better for his use.

3. Nothing. Kaleb will be able to function like an ordinary child. Ordinary. Ha. Our son will never be ordinary. Jim Abbott strongly encouraged us to go this route. His parent's treated him just like his siblings. He said it was the best thing they ever could have done for him.

When the doctor finished weighing Kaleb's options a funny thing happened. Brian and I looked at each other. The familiar almond shape of his eye and the light smile gracing his lips told me he was on my level. We felt relief. Kaleb's doctor stopped us. He told us how refreshing it is to have parent's completely fine with being told there child probably wouldn't be esthetically pleasing right away. He said he usually has to spend hours in visits trying to calm devastated parents who he has to tell surgery isn't the best option. He complimented our bond, faith and strength.

Brian and I decided to let Kaleb have the prosthetic option. Nothing like having a 250K hand in our toy box. We can live with that :) When Kaleb is old enough he can decide if surgery is right for him. They are doing amazing things with stem cells and who knows what they can offer him in 20 years? Our son is perfect. That is where we go from here. We said a prayer pulling away from Children's as we listened to the breathing of our flawless son. Sweet relief...

On the work front I am going back to work on November 19th. I need to finish up some things and will be at UMR through the end of the year, at least. I'm pulling double duty because The Party Platter is really getting huge. The shop is almost done. More news on that to come. On the positive note Brian has a TON of days off in December. Kaleb will spend the other days with my grandma, Brian's sister and Olivia. More relief. I couldn't feel better about who he gets to spend his days with... amazing.

We are going to put up Christmas decorations this weekend before Thanksgiving so that we can deal with our busy month better. I couldn't think of a better way to spend the holidays... with my boys!