Friday, October 29, 2010

Home Again

I'm happy to announce we made it safely back home last night! I will say I was sad to leave the sunshine and come home to snow, but definitely glad we got to return as planned. Yes, that really does mean Mason for once did not surprise us w/ anything unexpected! Everything went smoothly. The transplant team was very happy with how well Mason is doing. Wednesday's echo looked beautiful as well as his blood work that came back w/ great numbers (Cyclosporine level, electrolytes, cbc, etc...). We won't know results of the pre and post antibody blood tests (DSA and HLA) from Tuesday's IVIg until late next week. We are hoping these treatments are keeping the bad attacking antibodies under control!!

If Mason continues to do well then he won't need a heart catheter and biopsy until the end of December. This is because his last 3 biopsy's (performed at the end of July, August, and September) were all big fat wonderful ZERO's!! That will be a nice break for his body. Mason did not have to have a biopsy while we were at Stanford because he had his 6 month Biopsy at the End of September at Primary's (just a few days shy of his 6 month post transplant birthday of October 4th.)

The only bummer of our meeting with w/ Mason's transplant team was that they don't want to come down on any more of his meds until April! I'd hoped he could at least come down just a little more on his steroids, but no. They said (I'm paraphrasing in my own words), "he's doing so well, let's not rock the boat." Mason is due back at Stanford the first week in April for his YEAR hearth cath, biopsy, and check up. Until then, we will continue to do bi-weekly visits and blood draws with Dr. Everett and her team at Primary's.

Mason and I enjoyed the beautiful whether on our walks to and from the hospital this week. Yesterday before we caught our plane home, we even went for a nice sunny run! On our run I took a picture of my favorite street in Palo Alto. It is Palm Dr. and leads you up to the main quad on Stanford's campus. (And have I ever mentioned how incredibly huge the campus is.......there's no way you could even walk from one class to the next. All the students ride bikes to each class. When I went to BYU I thought that was big, but not now! )


Mason has become quite the champion flyer now! He did just as great on the flight home as he did on the way there. He sat in his own seat, helped me wipe down everything with Lysol wipes, opened and shut the window, sipped his sprite, pretended to play big brother's DS, and then fell asleep. I think the people around us were surprised to see a toddler behave so well on a plane! But, if they only knew how he behaved in the middle of the night!!!


I need to mention a few special people who made our trip possible.........Andrea M and Mary H for providing flight miles for our plane tickets, Paige B and Heather J for the rides to and from the airport, and Heather L for letting Mason and I stay in your home. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

And another special thank you to Mason's donor family who made this ALL truly possible. I think of you daily and hope to someday find out who you are! Until then may the Lord continue to shower you with love and comfort.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunny California

We left a very cold, windy, rainy storm in Utah and landed here in Sunny California. I'm not complaining, that's for sure! But I will say it is nice to have a scheduled return flight on Thursday to reunite with our family. The last time Mason and I flew here to Northern California was in February. Then, we came on a one way ticket not knowing when we would return home! I just knew we were on a mission to get Mason a new heart. A lot has happened in the last 8 1/2 months. Every bit of which, the tough and the wonderful, I wouldn't trade for anything. And here we are 6 1/2 months post transplant for a check up! Mason is a miracle!

Mason loved his flight on the plane, although he
would not leave his 'germ protection' mask on.
He slept for almost an hour, right next to me
in his own seat. What a good boy!!!

Today we walked through Stanford's campus to get to our appointment at the hospital. We enjoyed the weather and the scenery. Mason was greeted by many familiar faces in the Short Stay Unit where we have been since 8am this morning for an IVIg treatment. Tomorrow we will go to transplant clinic for an ECHO and to meet with the transplant team.

Thank you for your prayers for a safe and 'good news' trip.

Golf Tournament Photos

Mason's 2nd Annual Monster Tournament
was a great success!
It was a beautiful sunny day
and everyone had a great time playing
the tough monster course.

Here are a few pictures of Mason's special day:

These posters were lined up along the walkway
leading up to the club house.

This one hung above the entrance to the club house.

Braiden, Mason, Ammon, and I drove around on a
golf cart to say "hi" to all those playing in the tournament.

Ammon had a perfect spot belted in where the golf clubs go!!!
Preston and Daddy played in the tournament.

Kaitlin and our little friend Elle were the 'drink girls'.
They drove a cooler of drinks around to all the golfers.

It was a FUN day!!
Thanks again to the Read Family
and all those who participated.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stanford Here We Come

Later this morning, Mason and I will fly to Palo Alto for a four day trip.

It is time for Mason's 6 (almost 7) month post transplant check up!

Wow, how time flies!

We hope the transplant team at Stanford's Lucille Packard Children's Hospital is pleased with Mason's progress.

We hope it really is only a 4 day trip.

We pray that all is well so we can return home as planned on Thursday night.

We are grateful Mason finally got new insurance as of last Friday!! (more about this later)

His insurance comes with very high premiums, deductibles, and co pays......but it is definitely better than no insurance at all!!!!

I will update while we are at Stanford. The place that saved our Miracle Mason's life!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our days, 2am Drives, A Big Step, Dear Friends, & A Favor

It seems quite difficult to find time to blog lately. I think of many things through the day which would make great blog posts and updates about Mason and our family, but....................actually getting those thoughts into the computer is a task that doesn't seem to get completed. Many days I will start a post and get interrupted only a few minutes into it, only to leave yet another unfinished post and my thoughts then forgotten. As I often say, "there's a time and a season for everything"! So, someday I will be able to blog and journal more about my thoughts and our life's journey. (ie: this post has taken me 3 days to write.)

As for now, my days are quite busy with Mason and Ammon while the other kiddos are at school. For 2 1/2 years Ammon went to a special needs/ autistic full day preschool four days a week. He was even picked up and brought home by a bus. He loved it and I loved it!! He got the structure and routine he needed and I didn't feel guilty about taking care of Mason and not giving Ammon what he needed.

This year is OUR DAYS are different. Ammon only goes to school in the afternoon. The only way he could have gone to a full day preschool in our district is if we continued him in the autistic program. But Ammon just is not typically autistic and has never been given an official diagnosis. He talks, cuddles, and is very social. He needs to be with other children who talk and are social, thus he is attending a Life Skills kindergarten w/ other children like him and they also get time during their day with the normal developing kindergartners. Ammon is still delayed in many of his cognitive skills, his attention span is about 30 seconds (most of the time), and he has enough energy to light up New York City (all the time), but my hope is to eventually mainstream him. Needless to say I love Ammon more than words can express (just as I do all my kiddos), but having he and Mason home together all morning can be quite crazy and busy!!! They love and hate each other at the same time, and I'm right in the middle of it!!

Thank goodness for Sammi, who is still living in our basement and helping me as much as she can. Sometimes she will talk Ammon into running errands with her in the morning to give me a bit of a break. She also helps me right now during those "bewitched hours" after school of homework, running kids to baseball, scouts etc , and preparing dinner. I am so grateful to have her here with our family!

During that window of time when Ammon goes to afternoon kindergarten until the kids get home from school Mason and I enjoy a much needed nap. This is very precious time I must say! Mason will only take a good nap with me next to him, so this forces me to nap too. I'm not complaining though, I love it and need it. What more could a mother ask for than napping next to her miracle child who has beat the odds of life thus far! And since Mason is still a horrible sleeper at night and I'm the only one he wants during those wee hours, we both need it for our health and sanity. So if I don't answer my phone, you'll know now, that is out precious nap time!

This leads me into the next item on my post title........2AM DRIVES. Mason, as you all know, has NEVER slept through the night. My hope of a new healthy heart solving this problem was shattered by his high doses of steroids to help w/ rejection. Do you know the top 2 side effects of these nasty things? Inability to sleep and irritability!! This is not the case for all kiddos on them, but definitely for Mason. He will wake up deliriously screaming and not even know why. Lately, even though he's on lower doses of the steroids now, his late night screaming (almost like he's having horrible nightmares) has been so bad that the only way I can console him is going out for a 45 -60 minute drive! Then we will come back and I will lay w/ him either on the couch or in the famous big red chair (I used to post about when he was really little) for the rest of the night, but sometimes neither of us go back to sleep. Crazy times! "This too will pass" right?

On a more positive note, Mason has made a BIG STEP in his transplant recovery. He was able to skip a whole week of transplant clinic and blood draws! Going from twice a week to every other week is a HUGE sign that Mason and his new heart are doing very well. Dr E, at Primary's, is very pleased with how well he is doing. His ECHO's look great, his lab work shows perfect numbers (his Cyclosporine level has finally found a 'happy spot' too), his lungs sound and look great, and his blood pressures have been much better. We hope Stanford's transplant team is just as pleased when we go visit them next week!

Our family continues to have friends, family, and neighbors serve us and support us in many different ways. My gratitude is SO GREAT for each and every act done for us, prayer said for us, and concerning positive thought sent our way! Not too leave anyone out, but specifically this last week there are some very DEAR FRIENDS who have touched my heart. I do believe that our Father Above knows our needs and many times places friends in our path exactly when we need them.

Cecil and his wife Melina put on an absolutely fabulous fundraising golf tournament for our Mason! I know it was a lot of work. We truly appreciate your friendship and all you've done for us! (I will post some pictures of the "Mason Monster Tournament" soon.) With the stress of unpaid medical bills this tournament was a 'breath of fresh air'!

The other one is my dear friend Laura. The other morning I was out on a run with Mason and Ammon (If you can call it a run pushing them in a double stroller, a total of at least 100lbs? It's more like a jog/walk!!) Half way through our run I ran into Laura out on her run. She changed her course and ran with us all the way back home. (Laura and I used to run together a lot before we had 9 kiddos between the 2 us! It's been years since we've run together.) She said to me "I follow your blog diligently Sum, but I know many times you are sugar coating your life! How are you really?" Ok, that's all it took, and I broke down in tears. I told her that life can be very challenging. I poured out my hidden thoughts and emotions to her about how many days I'm very overwhelmed. It was so good to let it all out. Thanks for being there for me Laura when I needed you!

Last but definitely not least, I have a FAVOR to request of all our friends, neighbors and family.

*PLEASE, lets us know if you or your kiddos have been sick and will be having contact with Mason. That way we can make a decision on whether we need to change our plans and stay home.

*If you or your kiddos have spent time with him recently and end up getting sick, let us know as well. We understand that you may feel well one day and sick the next. This is in no way to make someone feel bad, but it helps give us an idea of what it could be if he does end up sick. For a regular kiddo, no biggie. But for Mason this will save him multiple blood draws (and tears) as they run labs to figure out what type of illness he has. So think of it as doing Mason a favor and please just give us a heads up.

*Also, if you happened to get the FLU MIST and will be in contact with Mason please let us know so we can stay away for a couple weeks. We have received a letter from cardiology stating that because the Flu Mist is a LIVE vaccine it could be contagious to Mason. Therefore, we are to stay away from those that have received the mist and ask those that will be in contact with her to get the FLU SHOT instead. *In fact, anyone who plans to be around Mason at all this winter please go get a FLU SHOT!!

Thanks for your understanding. We hate asking this of others but we know of the major impact this could have on Mason's health and in all honesty his life.

Until the next post.......hopefully sooner than later, Mason sends LOVE to all his fans and followers :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Don't Forget......

to sign up today for:
The 2nd Annual Miracle Mason
Monster Golf Tournament

(Then click on the flyer to
enlarge it big enough to read.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Miracle Mason is 34 months Old

On September 30, Mason turned 34 months. He has truly lived
34 very courageous and heroic months so far ................. with many
many more months and years to come, thanks to his beautiful healthy
new heart. Thank you to our donor family somewhere out there!!!


Mason's strategy: If he doesn't look at you, then
you will just go away! (This is how he deals with
his extreme shyness and fears lately. But as you'll
notice in this picture, he'll still watch you out of
the corner of his eye until you're really gone!)

On Labor day we took our kids up to Park City
for the day and enjoyed the Alpine Slides,
sunshine, and a yummy lunch.

Big Brother Braiden (2nd grade)

Big Brother Preston (4th grade)

Big Sis Kaitlin (6th grade)

Littlest Big Bother Ammon (kindergarten)
and Daddy at the bottom of the Alpine Slide.

Look who found some potato chips......

and look who's eating a potato chip!!!

Big Sis Kaitlin turned 12 on Sept 16th. Oh no,
poor Mason now has a "tween"ager in his home!
We celebrated as a family with a little bit
of Key Lime pie, the night before the BIG party.

Mason enjoyed watching from his wagon all the
70+ kids at Kaitlin's outdoor movie party, as long
as they kept their distance of course! He also
enjoyed nibbling on (and throwing) popcorn all night.

Mason's sharing a few more smiles with us
these days! I think he's feeling better on lower
doses of some of his meds (especially steroids).

Mason is trying bites of food more and more
each day. Most of the time he takes a bite and
the rest goes on the floor, but at least he's
putting food in his mouth! Baby step right?!


"Life's journey is not traveled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls, and snares. Rather, it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say, 'No,' the courage to say, 'Yes,' Decisions do determine destiny. The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be." by: Thomas S Monson


"At times some may think that no one cares--but someone always cares! Your Heavenly Father will not leave you to struggle alone, but stands ever ready to help." by: Thomas S Monson

.................AND MORE!


2nd Annual Mason Monster Golf Tournament

***Please Click on this image of the flier to
zoom in and read the details. (Keep
clicking until you get it big enough!)***