Friday, February 27, 2009

He's a Champ!

Hey guys, I've got great news: my Dad was discharged from ICU first thing this morning. YAY! By the time the kids and I got there to see him he was standing and walking and sitting and talking and eating and laughing. All of the tubes and bandages have been removed and he looks awesome! I could not get over how much more improved he was since I saw him just last night.

I actually just got off the phone with his cardiologist who told me that they are all very satisfied with the surgery results and the progress my Dad is making. He said my Dad is tough and he could be coming home in a short couple of days. It'll take about 3 months before we can start re-testing to see how much his heart capacity has improved/changed, and we're not even talking transplants until then, but in the meantime my Dad should feel much better than he has in a very long time. And I'd say that's definitely something to smile about.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Sam had his first taste of powered donuts a few days ago.

Call me crazy,... but I think he liked it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So Far, So Good

Hey guys, I just got home from the hospital and I'm happy to report that so far, so good. The surgery went well and when I left my dad was in the ICU in stable condition. But since I promised an update I will make this a quick post so that I can go and crash with my hubby on the couch for some much needed quiet time together.

OK, so after being told that my Dad was going to be taken into Pre-Op by 6:00am, my brother and I got to the hospital bright and early this morning at about 5:30am. Luckily his surgeon had a meeting that ran a bit over schedule so we got to spend some time together before his surgery ~ my Mom, my Dad, my brother and I. And it was awesome! The only thing that would have made this morning absolutely perfect was if my older brother Hector would have been here with us. We missed you, Hector!

But as you can see in the above picture, the mood in the room was definitely a light and celebratory one. We got to talk a lot and laugh a lot and spend a pretty special time together. Of course we were a bit nervous and apprehensive (you know how "well" I handle uncertainty), but our focus was more on happy and funny things. You know, things like making fun of him when he got shaved from head to toe. And laughing at some of our past hospital experiences. And talking about all the things we expect he will do once he comes out with a much improved heart. Finally, when the time came we huddled, said our prayers and off he went.

The medical team he had was amazing and Nurse Pam (God bless this woman!) did a fantastic job of updating us on his progress every hour on the hour. As it turns out they only performed one single bypass. But they were able to perform it off-pump and they used his own vein for the procedure, which was great news. Unfortunately, once they were actually in the heart, they discovered that the other artery was way too calcified/hard and therefore decided to let it be instead of risking any complications due to the extent of his other medical conditions.

My mom and I had a chance to see him twice after the surgery was over and he was transported to ICU. I gotta tell ya, seeing him with all those tubes and wires everywhere turned out to be a somewhat shocking to me for some reason. He was still pretty loopy from the anesthesia and in some pain, as I had expected, but unable to speak due to the breathing tube in his throat, which I believe they were hoping to remove later tonight. He was however responsive and in stable condition. They've assured us that we will see much improvement tomorrow morning. And honestly, I cannot wait.

God willing tomorrow my Dad will start moving around and hopefully feel much better than he has in a long time. Well, I'm sure we'll be relying on extensive painkillers for a while, but you get where I'm going.

Finally, I cannot end this post without saying thank you so much for all of your calls and e-mails and prayers and well wishes. Have I told you how unbelievably blessed I am to have all of you in my life? Seriously, have I? Well,... I am! You are all amazing!

So there you have it! I will let you know some more about his progress tomorrow. But right now I have a nice comfy couch yelling my name, and oh how I hate to disappoint!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Make it a double,... or maybe a triple

It appears we've had a change of plans. As reported yesterday, my Dad went into the hospital this morning for a cardiac catheterization procedure. Once in there the doctors discovered that my Dad's heart had a number of blockages in his arteries, some from before his stent was put in and others from after. So the cardiologist called his colleague, the heart surgeon, to further evaluate my Dad's condition and determine whether or not they should put in another stent to slow down the problem or if they could actually consider heart surgery to solve the problem.

Well, after many conversations about risks and conditions the decision was made to operate on my Dad's heart tomorrow morning. So as of right now we're looking at either a double or a triple bypass. We'll know for sure tomorrow, once they're actually in.

The kids and I went to the hospital to see him this afternoon and I was ecstatic to find him in such high spirits. I know a lot of it has to do with the fact that for years and years the doctors in Puerto Rico told him he would not be considered a candidate for heart surgery due to his kidney condition and he would not be considered a candidate for kidney transplant due to his heart condition. Well, a door has finally opened, here in Memphis of all places, with doctors who are not only interested in addressing his heart condition, but in addressing his kidney and liver conditions as well. God sure does work in mysterious ways!

We've been told that my Dad will probably be taken into prep at around 6:00am, so I'm heading to the hospital very early in the morning to spend some time with him before he's taken into the OR. Scott's taking the day off and staying home with the kiddos, but I'll be spending the day at the hospital with my Mom. I do however promise I will update you guys as soon as I get home.

Once again I'd like to thank all of you for your continued prayers and encouraging words. This has been quite a roller coaster ride and your kindness has definitely inspired me enormously throughout this process. You guys are the best!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oops, she did it again

Some Bad News:

(1) Our upstairs computer is pretty much dead. DEAD I tell ya! Yeah, this is the computer that houses all of my pictures and scrapbook projects (luckily that's all backed up on an external drive ~ phew!). This is the computer I was in the process of using to complete Sam's birthday invites (these have to be completed and sent out pronto!). This is the computer that I use to update Sam's first year scrapbook (hard to believe it will be completed in a month). This is the computer that I use to post on the blog 99% of the time.

So we have made the decision to purchase a new desktop computer sometime this week, but being that we're so busy lately it's been hard for us to find the time to get out there and do some comparison shopping. Thank goodness for the internet and 24 hour online shopping. I think we've pretty much figured out what we want, now we just have to make the time to go out and get it. As soon as this little task has been completed, I will be posting lots of pictures of our recent adventures.

(2) As you may or may not know, I've had a pretty miserable few weeks. Since the beginning of the new year I've been to the 3 different doctors on 6 different occasions for three separate illnesses and I honestly can't even tell you the number of prescriptions I've had filled. The latest fiasco involves a rash/allergic reaction to one of the many antibiotics I've taken in the last few weeks. The itching is so outrageous and out of control I got a total of 5 hours of sleep this past weekend. Five hours. Total. For the entire weekend. Yeah, did I mention I'm absolutely miserable? Miserable and exhausted.

Anyway, after various desperate phone calls first thing this morning begging for an appointment I visited the dermatologist today to have my rash looked at. Of course I innocently walk in thinking she'll look at it, scrape it, look at it under her microscope and send me off with a new prescription or two. But the last thing I expected was that although she was 95% sure it was drug allergy, she still wanted to send it into the lab to be checked. Sure, I say. After all, she's the expert.

Well, do you know what that entails exactly? And I only ask because obviously I didn't. She cut me! Again! What is the deal? Seriously, I cannot walk into that woman's office without her coming after me with a scalpel! This time she took a chunk right off my stomach. Hello! Are you kidding me? So I've decided that next time I go back there (which is in exactly 10 days to have my one stitch removed) I'm going to tell her that next time she feels compelled to come after me with any type of surgery equipment she'd better finish the job ~ and perform liposuction. We'll see how that goes,... Yeah, I know I should have known better.

Some Good News:

(1) I'm on different and stronger steroids and will probably look just like Hulk Hogan as soon as this is all over, but I don't really care being that I am already experiencing some serious relief. It seems that finally someone got it right. YAY!!! And the cherry on top is that she instructed me to take a double dose (prescription strength) of Benadryl tonight. Someone's gonna get some much needed sleep tonight.

(2) The kids are finally better and done with all of their antibiotic treatments. They're both back to acting like themselves and being sassy and stubborn and loud and oh so much fun! I can't wait to share some of our recent pictures with you guys.

(3) And the grand finale: My Dad is going into the hospital tomorrow for a cardiac catheterization. Basically, they insert a sheath into an artery into which they insert a catheter and guide wire. This is threaded through the arteries to the heart, X-ray dye is injected through the catheter and several images (angiograms) are taken to determine where there may be blockages. Once they determine the severity of the blockages (number, locations and characteristics) then they decide the procedure/treatment necessary ~ hopefully nothing more than angioplasty and stenting.

Since my Dad was recently diagnosed and treated for bleeding esophageal varices, a gastroenterologist must ensure that there is absolutely no bleeding before they actually perform the . Once the procedure actually takes place the blood flow usually improves almost immediately. Meaning that should everything progress as planned then my Dad will be feeling so much better by Wednesday. And that my dear friends, is really great news! If things are not as "simple" as we'd like then we'll have to have conversations about coronary artery bypass surgery. But for now, we're just praying for a successful procedure tomorrow.

And since yours truly will be taking them to the hospital bright and early tomorrow morning, I should go now and tie up some loose ends.

We'll talk soon.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Technical Issues

So we're having some crazy technical issues at the Butler household which have prevented me from posting this last week. My very own personal Geek Squad (aka Scott) is hard at work.

As soon as everything gets resolved I promise to update with some recent pictures and a bit of good news.

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 13, 2009

And the Countdown Begins

The Butler Birthday clock has officially started the countdown. And you know how psycho I am about birthdays! It's a month before Sam's birthday and I am well on my way to planning his first birthday party. Invitations are almost completely done and I totally love how they're turning out. Here's a sneak peek of what I'm currently working on:

Cute, isn't it?

Also, I'd love to share with you Isabella's first ever scrapbook page. I tell ya, this is a girl after my own heart. The other day I was working on the invitations and she came by and said she wanted to do some scrapbooking too. Hmm, let me think about that: Absolutely! I pulled out an old photo of her and Sam, matted it, had her pick out the paper and the embellishments/flowers and she went right to work. The photo is a few months old, from my Father's Day 2008 project for Scott actually, but it was of the two of them and I just happened to have a duplicate on my desk at the time. So, without further ado here is my sweet daughter's first scrapbook masterpiece:

What do you think? Not bad for a first timer. She is so very proud of her page and keeps it stored safely in her room so that Sam doesn't get it.

So, while I'm working on Sam's invitations and Isabella is working on scrapbook layouts my Mom is earnestly working on her jewelry collection. You see for the longest time she has made and sold necklaces and earrings and bracelets and rings so that she can help pay for my Dad's medical expenses. The items that she makes are totally awesome and affordable and she's gotten a lot of interest from some of my friends and the women at our Bible Study. So I asked her to get to work on creating so that I can host on open house in the next couple of weeks and showcase her collection and she listened. This here is what her side of the room looks like:

Like I mentioned, as soon as there is enough merchandise we will be hosting an open house. I'm also planning on looking into an Etsy shop or maybe Ebay to help jump start her sales. We'll see,...

My Dad is doing well. After last Tuesday's let down at the cardiologist I received a call from the doctor on Wednesday. He explained that after reviewing most of the Mayo Clinic records we had provided him he thinks that things may be better than he had originally thought. So instead of going back in two weeks he changed my Dad's appointment to next week so that we can discuss our options.

Here he is. My Dad. Yep, laughing at one of his own jokes. He really thinks of himself as a comedian. The jury's still out on that one.

Our big boy is doing so much better and back to acting like his old adorable self. Last night he had a taste of an Oreo cookie and to say he totally loved it is a gross understatement. And the mess he made was out of this world.

Our boy turns 11 months old tomorrow and he's weighing in at a whopping 30 pounds and wearing size 24 months/2T clothes. As you can see this child of mine hasn't yet missed a single meal or found a food he doesn't like. In our house, even the dog food is a menu item if he's around.

Our big girl is also feeling much better. She had her Valentine's Party at school yesterday, so of course we had to take some pictures beforehand.

Geez! She looks so big and so grown up it absolutely kills me. Just recently she pointed out a tear on the knees of her jeans and explained that they were tearing because she was growing up so much and so fast. It would appear we have a mini "Hulk" in our house. I better get out and get this girl some bigger jeans PRONTO!

And being that Valentine's Day is tomorrow, I wanted to share with you some evidence that LOVE is indeed in the air at the Butler Home.

My Mom and Sam
Seriously! Don't you just feel like you're intruding in on their very own private moment? Honestly, there is an unbelievable bond between those two and I am so happy to have caught a glimpse of it.

Okay, I better get going and get some stuff done before the kids wake up from their naps. Talk soon!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Catching Up!

OK, so it's confession time ~ I'm suffering from a pretty bad case of blogger's guilt right about now. Amazing really,... like I need one more thing to feel guilty about! Anyway, deep inside I know I really need to do a better job of making the time to update the blog on a more consistent basis. I'm not even taking pictures these days. It's pitiful and I'm sorry. That's all I can say. But I do promise to try much harder, I do,... I really, really do!
OK, I think I've done enough groveling for now.

We're slowly, but surely getting better around here. Isabella's almost back at 100% so that's definitely good news. Sam just started a different and stronger antibiotic for his sinus infection and seems to be responding much better to this one, finally. Scott and I are doing well,... really really tired, but well.

Scott's been having some car troubles lately and wanted to do some maintenance on it this weekend so on Saturday my parents and I took the kids (Isabella, Sam, my niece and nephew) with us to the park, out to eat pizza and then to Chuck E. Cheese. Yeah, does the word "insanity" come to mind? By the time I got home I literally thought I was on the verge of a major meltdown. Good heavens!

The cousins. At the park. On a very windy day.

Today was a crazy busy day for us. First thing this morning Isabella had her 6 month follow-up appointment with her dentist. The good news ~ she remains cavity free. The bad news ~ she decided to throw a fit of epic proportions right in the midst of her evaluation. I tell ya, good times were had by all. Afterward, I took her to dance. I keep forgetting to take pictures of these 3 and 4 year old beauties in their tiny ballet outfits. "Graceful" is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when these girls are performing, but they sure are adorable and I am anxiously awaiting their dance recital in May.

Also today was my Dad's much anticipated appointment at the cardiologist and it was a bit oh, I don't know, anti-climatic to be quite honest. You see, we already knew that his heart is in bad shape and our one and only priority right now is to have it fixed. And we already knew that we can't consider doing anything with the liver and kidneys until that gets done. So I guess in a way I left the office feeling like I wanted a little more from today.

One good thing about today's visit is that ever since my parents arrived my Dad's blood pressure has been out of control and quite high, and this doctor is taking a more aggressive approach with regards to his treatment. So hopefully once that is taken care of, then we can talk more concretely about some treatment options.

Alrighty then, I better get going. I have to finish up my Bible Study homework for tomorrow's session and then I have some serious vegging out to do for the rest of the night.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Case of Diahritos

So, Isabella called me into the bathroom yesterday afternoon while I was getting dinner ready and as soon as I walked in I could tell she was somewhat troubled. The expression on her face was that of pure anguish.

ME: "What's up, honey?"

ISABELLA: "Mom, I had an accident,... in my pants."

ME: "Ooh, what happened?"

ISABELLA: "I went poopy in my pants, but I didn't mean to. It was an accident. I don't want you to be upset."

~Yeah, insert Mommy guilt and horrifying
flashbacks of potty training here~

ME: "Oh honey, it's OK. Let's just get you cleaned up."

As I examine the damage I realize what happened and say to her:

ME: "Baby, I am NOT upset, OK? I know it was an accident and accidents happen to all of us. The problem is you have diarrhea so you probably didn't have enough time to get to the potty, that's all."

ISABELLA: "I have diahritos?"

~Insert uncontainable laughter here~

ME: "Yes honey, it would appear you have a case of diahritos!"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Living up to the name of the blog,... well, kinda

Things have been unbelievably chaotic around here. Unfortunately, I wouldn't necessarily say it's been perfect chaos. More like frustrating and exhausting chaos to be perfectly honest. But we do what we can, when we can, with what we have,... or something like that, right? Anyway, although I refuse to bore you with all the details of the "chaos" going on around here, I will update you on a few things.

First things first ~ Isabella's results from the hospital procedures she had a little over a week ago came back perfectly fine. Everything is working exactly as it should be, which is a humongous relief to us. Apparently she is just prone to UTIs for some reason and will most likely outgrow them sometime in the future. The whole experience was horrible (well, mostly for me and Scott) and I am so unbelievably grateful for kids' resilience. Thank you guys for all your kind words and encouragement. Between here and Facebook you guys had me covered. You're awesome!

After my second visit to the Minor Medical center, third round of antibiotics, two inhalers and a cough syrup with codeine, I am finally feeling much better. As for Sam, well he recently had a 24 hour stomach virus that resulted in me and/or my mom changing about 100 too many super nasty diapers.

Oh, how I wish I could tell you we're all finally getting healthy, but after a pretty terrible night last night we took Isabella to her pediatrician this morning and she was diagnosed with a pretty bad ear and sinus infection. Oy vey! So being that she did not go to school today, we've pretty much spent the day hanging out, watching TV and resting.

OK so moving on from nasty germs and such, have I mentioned how much I love having my parents around? Getting them settled with regards to all the medical stuff has been challenging and quite frustrating to say the least. But we keep moving forward, albeit at a snail's pace, and exploring every possible option and alternative available out there. And being together and watching the kids hang all over them has been so awesome and rewarding, I honestly wouldn't change it for the world.

Today is our 7 year anniversary. I feel so incredibly blessed to have married my best friend and such an awesome man. What a fun and crazy ride this has been! Anyway, since Mondays are not typically good days around here due to Scott's crazy work schedule we decided to celebrate it this weekend. On Saturday night we went to see this movie and got some yummy frozen custard afterward. Then yesterday we enjoyed an awesome dinner at Texas de Brazil, during which I of course ate WAY too much. Every single time we go there I promise myself I will exercise superhuman amounts of self-control, but unfortunately that never seems to be the case.

I leave you with our traditional anniversary self-portrait from last night.
Talk to you soon!