Friday, April 26, 2013


I received great news yesterday afternoon! Wednesday's Cardiac MRI showed Mason's coronary arteries as being healthy and normal. I LOVE good news!!! Needless to say, we are all very relieved and grateful for the many prayers and positive thoughts offered for our Miracle Mason and his happy little heart.

Hopefully now Mason can have a break from anesthesia and same-day surgery for awhile. You know you've been to the same-day surgery too often when you walk in to the pre-op registration and the ladies behind the desk all say, "Hi Mason and Mrs Strickland. How are you two this morning?"!!! They probably check in two hundred or more patients each day, so when they know you by name..... you've been there a little too frequently!

The transplant team also had blood work done while we were there Wednesday to look at Mason's DSA's (Donor specific antibodies). We are hoping with the high dose of IVIg two weeks ago and the steroids he's been on for 6 weeks that his antibody count has gone down.  The results should be back early next week. With the results the transplant team will decide Mason's plan, how much longer on the steroids and when will be his next biopsy to recheck the rejection.

For now, we count our blessings for Mason's healthy coronary arteries!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cardiac MRI Tomorrow

I'll be honest.....I'm nervous about Mason's cardiac MRI tomorrow. He is having this done to look at his coronary arteries. Normally coronary arteries can be looked at during a full heart cath, but with Mason it's just not possible because both of his femoral arteries (in the groin) are occluded. In pediatrics the cath doctor goes in through the femoral arteries to get a coronary angiogram.  (In adults I believe they can go through an artery in the arm.) This is the best method to look at coronary artery health. Via MRI, like Mason will be having done is another method, it's just not always as accurate.

Mason is having this done as part of his routine "annual" transplant checkup. But, he hasn't had it done in 18 months. For this reason I am nervous! Plus, coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common cause of failed heart transplants! And what is one of the main causes of  CAD? Antibody mediated rejection. Okay, so I have reason to be nervous right?! Especially with Mason having this recent antibody mediated rejection. But, on the bright side..... Mason seems to be doing great and his echos have all looked good through this recent rejection. So hopefully I'm worrying about nothing!!!

Please pray, think positive thoughts, and hope with us for good healthy results tomorrow.

Thank you!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rod Expansion Surgery and Birthdays

We checked into the Primary Children's Medical Center at 6am Monday morning for Mason's 2nd back rod expansion surgery. Mason was happy as could be to be back at his home away from home-Primary's....silly boy! But, he did cry when I had to hand him over to the anesthesiologist, which never gets any easier with time. It makes for a tearful mom!

 The procedure to expand his rods took about an hour. Last time it took an hour and a half, but that extra time was spent placing his IV. Yesterday all they had to do was access his port, which is much quicker and easier than trying to find a spot to place an IV on Mason.
He has another 2 1/2 inch incision in his mid back where the doctor entered in to extend the rods. The rods were extended about 2 cm's. Besides Mason's back being a little sore he's doing really well! We stayed overnight just to be cautious and he also got his monthly IVIg treatment through the night while we were there. Double duty during a hospital stay is the way to go!  We were discharged and came home Tuesday afternoon. I'll take a one night stay at the hospital any day!!!

April 4:  Third Angel Heart Birthday

Happy 3rd Angel Heart Birthday Miracle Mason! 

On April 4, 2010 Mason received his new heart which 
saved his life! 
This amazing gift has has given him the chance to spend more 
time with our family here on earth, the chance to run and 
play like little boys should, the chance to teach us all more about
hope and faith, the chance to learn and grow, the chance to
continue melting our hearts with his wise eyes and contagious
smile, and so much more!!!  Thank you with endless love and 
gratitude to his donor family who we think of each and everyday!

We could never say thank you enough.....

We pray for our donor's family especially at this time
 of year that they may feel comfort and love from our
 Father Above. We pray even though they have chosen to 
remain anonymous, that they know we will forever be

Our tradition is to write thank you messages
on balloons and send them into the sky in honor
of Mason's special donor in Heaven.

Then our annual Mason-sized little heart cake 
topped off our Angel Heart Birthday celebration!

And, this year Mason even ate some of it!
(He's had quite the appetite on this recent round
of steroids! Hooray for the bonus side affect!!)

April 5: Preston's 12th Birthday

My sweet little Preston born on April 5, 2001
is not so little anymore! I can't believe he's 12!!!

Preston is one very sensitive and kind son, brother,
cousin, and friend. He is liked by everyone he meets!
He is a very good example to all of his younger brothers.
Preston is fun to be with, smart, and athletic. He enjoys
skateboarding, mountain biking, surfing (when we
 visit the beach in Cali), playing lacrosse, and skiing. In
fact this year he has become quite the stunster on skis!
Preston, we love you and and are very proud of you!
Happy Birthday!

Here are a few pictures of Preston having 
some crazy fun on skis this year!

The day before Preston's birthday he
enjoyed a ski day with cousins and friends.

Mason and I went up to the Alta ski lodge at
lunchtime to deliver a cake and help them celebrate.

Then on Preston's birthday Mark and I took he, Kaitlin,
and Braiden out for a special birthday dinner.

We returned home for every one's favorite part
of any birthday celebration, birthday cake and presents.

Happy 12th Birthday Preston!
Happy 3rd Angel Heart Birthday Mason!
Happy Spring to you all!

PS. Are you an organ donor yet? (go to

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Monday's Biopsy Results and Easter Pictures

To those of you who have checked the blog for Monday's biopsy results I apologize for not posting sooner. My kiddos are on spring break this week so I haven't had much free time! The results were not what we were hoping for, but at least the rejection did not get any worse. Mason's rejection remained the same even after all those hefty doses of steroids. (For those who understand the biopsy scoring that Primary's uses, his score in March and this recent one on Monday was: C3 V3 ISHLT 1R pAMR 2.) Basically he's still having mild cellular and vascular (antibody mediated) rejection.

 The good new is.....his echo still looks good, so his heart function has not been affected by the rejection.  Plan of action? Mason will need to stay on the steroids for awhile longer, probably at least a month or so (BUMMER). He won't have to go back up on the high doses he started on last month but will stay on a moderate maintenance dose. The poor little guy is such a GRUMPY boy on steroids (not all day, but a lot of it!) I hope this rejection clears up soon! We are also going to be doubling Mason's monthly IVIg treatment that he's been getting since Jan 2012 for the Parvovirus because the higher dose will also be beneficial in treating Mason's antibody rejection. His amount of donor specific antibodies (DSA's) is pretty high right now. Guess this shows a transplant recipient is never out of the woods.
But, I am just so grateful we caught this rejection before it was severe and/or affecting his heart function!

Monday (April 8) Mason will go in for another back rod expansion and while we stay over night he will also get his next IVIg treatment. Please remember him in your thoughts prayers to conquer this rejection and that all will go smoothly in the operating room on Monday. Although it will be a minor trip to the OR it never gets easy to say goodbye before any surgery!

Our family had a great Easter! Here are a few Pictures.....

The  younger boys were excited to wake up and see.....

what the Easter Bunny brought!

And, the older kids......not so much! 
They would've rather slept in!!!


I attempted to take pictures of the kids before church,
but I think they'd all had a little too much Easter candy!

Easter turned out to be a beautiful warm
and sunny Spring day.

It was perfect for an Easter egg hunt with family,

just hanging out in the great weather,

or even a little squirt gun fight!

In fact I think Mason's favorite part of Easter....

was the chasing after everyone with his squirt guns!

For every holiday we spend together as a 
family we are truly grateful!

Happy Spring!