3 boys and a girl...a recipe for pure time to write a book, so I blog

Monday, March 12, 2012


There have been moments in this journey of motherhood that have brought me to my knees. Before having kids I would not have considered myself all that emotionally attached to anything...then they came along.
I remember when Kale was born the feeling of overwhelming fear, joy, pride, and apprehension. Afterall, he was SOOOOOO tiny and helpless and somewhere and for some reason God thought Dave and I were up to the challenge of being the people to guide him in this world, teach him, protect him and above all love him.
In that moment six years ago I never could have imagined that someone that small could rattle my emotions and make me dig down deep to find the strength and faith to do all those things. Loving him has been the easy part, some days I feel like the rest of it we, correction more I fall short. I have always maintained I didn't see my self capable of murder until I became a mother. I would do anything to keep my kids safe and protected from the evils of the world, but I have come to realize that even with the best of intentions, there too I fall short. 
 I thought I was doing so well, kids are healthy for the most part, rarely sick, no cavities, meeting all their milestones developmentally. Life is good. I got them to their doctors appointments on schedule, shots given, tolerated and all is well. Then, mid January we were out to breakfast and I noticed a red spot on Kale's left eye as he was looking out the window. Let's be honest he has his mother's temper so I figured it looked like a little burst blood vessel, nothing to worry about. We watched it for two weeks, afterall we had an appt with his eye doctor in about that time...wrong choice, though looking back I don't think it would have made a difference, or that is what I tell myself.  Instead the red spot had grown bigger and raised....GREAT. I called the eye doctor and he wanted to see Kale that day. Long story short after being referred from a pediatric opthamologist to a another specialist, 3 weeks of steroids, loss of vision in his left eye, and growth of the red spot, we were scheduled for surgery to remove the mass March 9th. First case that morning. No one really knew what the mass was other than "we think it is scar tissue and most likely not cancerous, but we won't know til we remove it".

For the first time in his 6 years I was scared. The chances of the surgery working were 60% and 90% recovery of his sight if they could remove the entire mass. The surgeon performing the operation had perfected the technique of using an amniotic membrane to graft to the portion of the white of the eye that he would be removing. 10 surgeries like it done in the world and this doctor has done 4, but never on anyone as young as Kale. Put simply, our little boy's eyes and sight were in this doctor's hands and there was nothing I could do to help him.

 As his mom and a nurse I stressed about it from the moment I heard her would be going under the knife again. The two other times it seemed so different, we knew the cause and surgery was the solution. This had come outta nowhere and the after effects were so much more permanent and heartbreaking. I told everyone, losing your sight in one eye at 60 is an inconvenience but a 6 it is a disability for the rest of your life. Kale took it like he always does, happy go lucky and with a smile on his face. His biggest concern was that they were going to take his "whole eyeball out"-which he thought might be pretty cool...BOYS!
 Last Wednesday, my last day of work for the week, Dave called me Thursday morning to tell me Kale had woken up at 330am screaming his ear hurt and had a fever of 102.3!!! When I got home I right away called school to tell them he wouldn't be in, called the surgeon's office to see if he would still go ahead with the surgery? The next 4 hours I was on the phone with his pediatrician, anesthesia at the hospital, and the surgeon. After it was agreed that as long as his pediatrician would clear him for surgery and start him on antibiotics, we were a go for surgery in the morning. That was noon on Thursday. Between my nerves and his ear pain I got an hour of sleep that day, only to wake up at 430 the morning of his surgery because I could not go back to sleep. I packed his bag with blanket and scruffy dog, prayed a rosary and had a convo with my grandma to watch over him and guide us to the best result...she has been known to work a few miracles and in life we swore had the gold phone to God.

 We got to the hospital, checked in and they were ready or as ready as anyone can be for Kale and his hyper 6 year old self. Unfortunately, they only let one of us back in pre-op so Dave sat in the waiting room with my dad while Kale and I watched cartoons and he sat SOO STILL for 12!!! eye drops. (This is the child I had to chase down at home to get 1 drop in...) The doctor came by and said he anticipated about 45minutes to an hour for the procedure. He warned us ahead of time that the pain with this would be more intense than his previous eye surgery...that I could handle, I was prepared from the horror of last time, and as a mom/nurse I was prepared to be liberal with the pain meds and had some big hitters in my arsenal(all OK'd with his medical team...I was not going to be caught off guard again.) Anesthesia came and showed him the mask and "balloon" they would use to put him under and like only my Kale would say, he told them, " I can count to a hundred and blow up that balloon, no problem, better than Barett!" With a kiss and a hug holding back tears, they took my baby boy away.
 Dave, my dad and I sat in the waiting room for the next two and half hours (it was only supposed to take 45min-1hr). Needless to say I was panicked, thank God for my dad and his calming nature, I may well have peeled the wallpaper off the walls and walked holes in the carpet. Finally when the surgeon came out, he told us that it was more difficult than he had anticipated, but he was able to remove 100% of the mass and did not have to remove any muscle(saving another surgery down the line)! I was able to go back to recovery and snuggle contain him and take out his IV. His eyes were both bandaged and he refused to open his right one even after they removed the bandage from it. After a Popsicle and a few blood pressures, we were on our way home for everyone to sleep.

 I hit him with pain meds right when we got home and Kale and I crashed for a good 4 hours. When he did wake up it was more pain meds and snuggling for him to listen to a movie(it was more comfortable for him to remain bandaged with both eyes and the doc was OK with that. Bedtime was smooth with no brothers to bug him and he slept til 8am(a feat in itself) the next morning.

 We met the doctor at his office at 930am and I have never been so nervous. He had told me that if Kale was to regain his vision in the left eye, we would know by that morning. Kale did the honors of taking off the patch and shield and wasted no time reading the top line of the eye chart. I mean to tell you I have not cried tears of joy like that since this little man was born. Baby steps is the name of the game now. He will hopefully regain his sight back to his previous nearsightedness, but the plan is for that to be a SLOW process.
The pathology came back today and the mass was indeed scar tissue, making the SLOW healing that much more important. Though no one really knows how or why Kale all of a sudden developed scar tissue 2 years after his last eye surgery, the best guess is he had an insult to the old incision...a grain of's fingers...vigorous rubbing of the eye...who knows! Whatever it was, he is now on steroid drops every 2 hrs around the clock for the next six months so the tissue heals slow and correctly...sounds like fun right?

Out of all of this I have learned strength and patience...from none other than the Bravest little boy I know.