Sunday, October 14, 2012


       I am very happy to report that Mason had his shortest hospital stay yet for a surgery! He was HOME in less than 48 hours after Monday's back rod expansion surgery. That's a record for him!  He is still sore, especially when he tries to do too much (keeping up with our other kiddos), but overall he has done extremely well. He has a new 2 1/2 inch incision in his mid back where the doctor went in to extend both rods. The toughest part about being home is making sure he doesn't play too hard with brothers and split that incision open! 

Mason has many super hero scars.....
he is one very tough little guy!!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend sweet Mia's funeral. I say opportunity because, although it was so heartbreaking and sad, there was an abundance of love, unity, and faith that filled the chapel. So much, that it was very powerful! Mia was a lovely, pure, and fun little girl that was very loved. Her short 4 year journey here on earth touched a countless amount of people! This funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life. Absolutely beautiful! Despite the fact that Mia has gone HOME to live with our dear Father in Heaven, her family looks forward to the day that they will get to reunite with her. 

As I cried with heartache for Mia's family at the service yesterday I was comforted in knowing we are never alone. Our Savior will always be there for us through every painful moment and trial in our life. Additional comfort came to me as I looked around the congregation and saw about 40 'heart moms' united in support for Mia's family. I feel grateful to be part of such a wonderful 'heartmom' group! I am also grateful for the knowledge that families can be together forever.

I will honestly say at times like this I almost feel guilty that Mason is still with us in our earthly HOME. In the medical world he really shouldn't have lived past 3 days old, but obviously our little miracle kiddo has a very important mission here on earth. Other heart angels have an important mission in Heaven. Mia's returning to her Heavenly HOME hits very close to my heart, because I often worry that I won't be ready if Mason is called HOME     at a young age. How can any parent ever really be ready???

That being said, I will continue to live one step at a time, one day at a time, cherishing life with each and every one of my wonderful children! Enjoying life together as a family!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

4th Annual Mason's Monster Golf Tournament

When: Friday October 26th, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

Where: Sleep Ridge Golf Course in Orem, Utah

What: 4 Person monster scramble

Why: Have some fun, support Mason's medical fund, help promote organ donation and CHD awareness
How: click here for an entry form or email Cecil Read at

Donations for prizes, silent auction and raffle items always appreciated……

Raffle Prizes so far:

Backyard Greens  Chefs Table

Lindon Collision Center  And more to come ……

Invite a friend and come join the fun!!

For information or donations please email Cecil Read at

Monday, October 8, 2012

FRAGILE (And update on Mason's rod expansion surgery)

First of all, Mason's rod expansion surgery went very well today. The hardest part of the day was saying goodbye to him as the anesthesiologist walked off with him to the OR. He got more upset than he normally does, which then caused my eyes to fill with tears as well. He is such a tough little guy who has been through so much, that sometimes I forget how still very FRAGILE and tender hearted he truly is. I will say also that because of a sad event that took place with one of Mason's heart transplant friends (Mia, who I will talk about below) last week while in the cath lab, I was extremely nervous to send him to the OR today.

Mason was in the OR for about an hour and a half. It took at least half the time just to place his IV, He is a very hard poke! He has recovered remarkably well. He is on just a half a liter of O2, which is pretty normal for him after anesthesia and intubation. He is also on lortab for pain and zofran for nausea. His incision is about 2 inches long on his mid-back right in between the 2 incisions made to implant the rods in April. His rods were were extended about one centimeter each in length. If he continues to do well (shh, don't want to jinx myself) he will get to go home tomorrow. Before we go home he will be getting his IVIg infusion that was due 2 weeks ago. I asked the Hemoc doctor if we could push it back until this week so we could use the IV Mason would have from the surgery, because his IV access is so difficult. He's a super hero, with a beautiful gifted strong healthy heart, in yet a FRAGILE body. 

As a Heart Mom I have also learned first hand how very FRAGILE life is, especially for a child born with a CHD (congenital heart disease). Their spirits are strong, but their bodies are delicate and FRAGILE. Their lives are delicate and FRAGILE. This weekend was a hard weekend to be a Heart Mom. Very hard! In fact heart breaking! Some of these beautiful, but oh so FRAGILE special heart children are just "too pure, too lovely, to live on earth" anymore and are called home to Heaven. My heart is heavy as 2 of our Utah heart friends have earned their angel wings and returned home to our Father Above. I am sad for their loved ones. I am sad because they are part of our heart hero family! I am sad! I am nervous! I am scared! I am scared for my Mason for I can't help but ask myself how long will I get to keep him here on earth?! 

I am grateful more than anything to know that families are forever! These heart angels WILL reunite with their families again someday! And Heaven is definitely sweeter now with these 2 new angels.

Shakeara was born 23 years ago with a CHD. We met her last year at Primary Children's where she was being treated for heart failure and liver problems. I feel lucky to have met such a beautiful young adult heart hero. She surpassed by far all medical expectations! I know her sweet husband and family feel a void without her now, but are grateful she is pain free. Please pray for their comfort at this time. Go here to read more: Shakear's Obituary.


Mia is a beautiful 4 year old who was born with a CHD and at 4 months old received a heart transplant. Last week she flew with her family to Disney World for her Make-A-Wish gift. But, before she even got to see Mickey and Minnie she ended up in the hospital very ill. What her parents and the doctors thought was a possible pneumonia turned out to be severe rejection and heart failure. She was taken into the cath lab for a heart biopsy  to determine the severity of  her rejection where she suffered cardiac arrest. She came out on ECMO (heart and lung ) life support. It was later discovered that she had no brain function. Mia's family had to say goodbye very unexpectedly. Within 3 days she went from what seemed to be very healthy to returning HOME. Life is so very FRAGILE! Please pray for sweet Mia's family. Click here for her story on KSL. And here for her blog.


Please hold your loved ones a little closer and hug them a little tighter! Tell them you love them! For life is FRAGILE! We never know what tomorrow brings.

“Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed.” 
~Jeffrey R. Holland

Friday, October 5, 2012

Spring & Summer Flashback

I'm sorry it has taken me soooo long to get this post done, but I hope you enjoy it. It is full of pictures of Mason and our family from May through August of this year.

Spring always keeps us busy watching sports.....
(with a few camps and tournaments during the summer).


Preston (11)

In the fall of 2011 Preston (11) switched from baseball to
Lacrosse and he has truly excelled in it! It is a fun
sport to watch and his team to second in the spring Gull
(Greater Utah Lacrosse League) 2012 Championship.


Braiden (9)

(Braiden and cousin Peter)

Braiden (9) continues to play baseball. In fact he is very
passionate about it! He is an amazing catcher and 
pitcher. His team has a one a few tournaments!
He also gets to play with 2 of his cousins who are 
on his super league team with him, Ben and Peter.

(cousin Peter, cousin Ben, and Braiden)

 Let me just tell you, Mason absolutely loves
going to all of his big brother's games! He is
always their biggest and most loyal fan. 


In June we spent a Friday night at the Hoggle Zoo
with the whole family and many of our heart friends.

Ammon (7) loved the zoo!


In June the kids spent a week with all of their Strickland
cousins (41 in all). They played hard, canoed, swam,
rode a zip line, played volleyball, and much much more!

(cousin Nicole, cousin Brooke, cousin Chloe, and Kaitlin)

One night of the cousins camp all of the adults played 
"Amazing Race" with the kids! Mason and I were on the 
red team. We didn't win, but had a lot of fun!

Lots and lots of swimming

(Mason and cousin Joseph) 

Mason enjoyed finally being healthy enough
to play with all his cousins! He was definitely
one very tired boy after cousins camp was over.


Our Southern California beach trip in July....
We enjoyed the beach for 6 straight days!

Mark and Mason





Best little buddies 
(that fight for Mommy's attention all day)
Ammon and Mason



(cousin Coco, Kaitlin, Mason, me)

Ready for another day at the beach (Salt Creek)


(Kaitlin & Mark)

I even got to catch up with two of my good friends
 from elementary school through high school,
Kim and Traci. It was so much fun to see them
and their darling families!

(Mark, me, Ammon, Mason, and Kaitlin)



the beach!

Good bye Cali! Thanks for the great time!
We will be back again next year.


July 27 Mason was invited to participate as 1 of 7 children
representing Primary Children's Medical Center at the
annual fundraiser golf tournament put on by Smith's 
Marketplace. Mason and the other 6 kiddos got to play
in a little putting contest. Each child was accompanied by
a corporate employee of Smiths or Kroger Foods. 

What a great event it was to be a part of!
And to top it off, each of the 7 children won 
 their very own ipad3 just for participating!
Thank you Smiths Marketplace!!!


In between all the summertime fun, Mason continued
to have frequents visits to Primary Children's for
cardiology/transplant clinics, back doctor check ups, 
and hematology visits for his monthly IVIg treatments .

Mason usually sleeps through at least part
of his several hour long IVIg infusions.

 He continues to receive IVIg for treatment to get rid of the Parvo Virus which invaded his little body last December. It was of killing off his red blood cells and the production of new ones. His last labs 10 days ago showed that his body is now making plenty of red blood cells and maintaining them (his hematocrit was 41.... amazingly high for Mason). But, the bad news is that the Parvo virus is STILL detected in Mason's blood. So hematology will up his IVIg dose and he will continue to get monthly treatments until the Parvo is no longer detected.


At the end of every fun Summer Vacation there
comes "back to school"......which will be my next
family happenings catch up post. And hopefully
I'll get this next one done sooner than later! 


*** MONDAY OCTOBER 8 MASON'S GOES IN FOR HIS FIRST EXTENSION SURGERY ON THE RODS IN HIS BACK. The doctor says it is a minor surgery and for normal healthy kids it is a same-day surgery, but for Mason it will always be an overnight stay in the hospital. I will plan for a multiple night stay, because we all know our Mason and his 'curve balls' or 'speed bumps', but we will HOPE for just one night stay. I will update sometime on Monday.