Monday, September 12, 2011

2nd Post-op ENT visit for Jake

Well, we are slowly but surely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with Jake.  We went to Jake's 2nd ENT visit since having his surgery.  It has been approximately one month since Jake had his surgery.  Joel and I were both terrified going to this appointment, as we are, every appointment just because we don't know what we will be hearing.  I think, no I know for a fact, that Joel and I have gotten much stronger about this situation and handling it much better now that we have had since June 11th, to absorb it all.  So we go into the visit and the doctor gets his tools to look into Jake's ear and our stomach's just sink at that very instant.  The doctor is looking around inside his ear, and says, "things look good!"  Okay, Joel and I can breathe again!  As the parents having to take good care and extra precautions with an inner eardrum that is having to heal on a very ACTIVE 4 year old, is very stressful!  So hearing those words from the doctor at that was GOOD!  As parents, we have done well, for now.  Maybe we can lift some of the doubt that has been weighing on us that we were potentially doing something wrong.  I actually, a few days beforehand, was blowing Jake's nose something we all do with our kids.  Well, Joel had brought to my attention that blowing your nose can actually put pressure inside the ear and that may have not been good for Jake's eardrum.  I was so paranoid and mad at myself, because I should have thought about that before I made him blow his nose.  And even a few days before that, I was watching Joel put in Jake's ear plug so that we could take him a bath, and I said, "Joel, you may not want to press down on the ear that hard the doctor said not to press down too hard."  That was probably not the best thing to have told him, as now I made him paranoid.  So we say things have gotten much easier and have now been absorbed a bit better, but as parents wanting to do the best thing for our children, we have become paranoid about doing just that.  So to continue with our ENT appointment.  We moved to the room that has the microscope to look way into the ear.  The doctor had to scrape the inside of his ear, which was not pleasant for Jake, but he did GREAT!  The doctor said that the absorbable packing was still sitting on the graft and when he blew air into the ear he could see the eardrum move, which is a good sign that the graft is taking!  The doctor wants us to continue to put drops in his ear twice a day for 10 days to see if it absorbs the packing so that the doctor will not have to scrape at the next visit again.  I'm hoping and praying that he will not have to do that again!  The doctor also said that he wants to see us again in 3 weeks and if all looks good, it will have been 7 weeks since surgery, and he will perform a hearing test at this visit.  So this hearing test will be a true test to see if things really worked and if the doctor made the right decision by not touching those bones.  Like I said, we would not be where we are today if we did not faith.  So I continue to have faith that regardless of the outcome, Jake will be fine.  Please continue to pray that this hearing test gives us the miracle of restored hearing, that Jake will not have to have his ear scraped, and that the graft has healed the way it should.  We will continue to update you on Jake's progress.  Thanks again for thinking of our family!

Lots of Love,
Joel, Annette, Jake, and Ayden

* Below are pics of some of the fun things that we have done lately*

Finger painting with our cousin AJ

I love the shaving cream on my hands!

The Dallas Zoo

We love the Zoo!

Feeding the Ducks

St. Ann's Carnival

Ayden starts MMO (Mother's Morning Out)

Get ready school, here I come!

He was so excited about taking his lunch

Ayden's smile!
As Ayden says, "I go to baby school now, mommy!"  Jake has told Ayden that he goes to big boy school and that Ayden goes to baby school.  Ayden is still excited anyway, even if it is baby school!  My Ayden is getting so big and wants to be a big boy so badly, so I chose to put Ayden in some sort of school just for him.  At first, Ayden was not so sure about it.  The first day involved some tears when Jake and I left the room for the first time.  Broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes as this is the first time I am leaving Ayden with anyone.  Jake got into the car and said, "mommy, the teacher will calm him down."  I just love my boys, sometimes they have just the right things to say or know the exact moment that I could use hugs and kisses.  It seemed like a lifetime to go and pick Ayden up from school as I was so excited to hear how it went.  I walked into the school and Ayden says, "you came back!  Of course, I did, silly goose!  Did you like school?  Yeah, with a big smile!"  What a relief!  It took Ayden 3 days of being dropped off at school for him to say, "bye, mommy, I'll see you later."  Anyways, I think he is starting to like it and having something just for him.  Not to mention, it is very nice, for this mommy to get some quiet time to herself, even if it is just 2 hours.  I am not complaining.  It actually gives me and Jake some one-on-one time together, something we don't ever really get.  It's been really nice, I'm very grateful!

Lots of love,
Joel, Annette, Ayden, and Jake

Ayden's teacher: Mrs. Halcomb
Jake with Ayden


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jake starts Pre-K

We are finally starting to get back some normalcy in our lives and the first starts with Jake starting Pre-K.  He was so excited to start Pre-K he could hardly stand it!  I think that he is even more excited about getting to eat the cafeteria lunch and being surprised with what he gets served that day!  

We're finally here!

His smile makes things all better

Ayden is sitting down, too, thinking that he is going to stay
Jake and his teacher, Mrs. Brewer

This first day of Pre-K for Jake was a hard mommy day for me.  Thanks to Danielle, for listening to that rough mommy day I had!  When I dropped Jake off, I realized that I was so scared to leave Jake because I would not be there to watch out for him.  This is where my faith had to step in.  I had to have faith that Jake would be watched by his teachers and staff at his school.  Of course, I had to coach Jake with when someone gets too close to your ear, tell them to watch out, etc.  Just to see that huge smile on Jake's face, made things so much easier for me!  It definitely made that faith come alive.

Jake had a great first day, overall!  Jake has always loved school so I did not think that I would have any trouble with him, but Ayden, on the other hand, surprised me.  He was screaming through the entire school all the way out to the car when we said good-bye to Jake.  Ayden wanted to stay so bad and even sat at the table with Jake when we dropped him off.  I had decided not to put Ayden in Pre-school this year, but after this temper tantrum that he had, made me think otherwise.  It actually broke my heart that maybe he feels that he is missing out on fun stuff, too.  So mommy found him a pre-school that I hope he enjoys.  He is now happily saying that he is going to go to baby school since Jake is going to big boy school.  We shall see how his first day goes next week.  Stay tuned for that update :)!  

Overall, life has been extremely good considering the circumstances and recovery of Jake.  I could not have asked for a better spirited child regardless of what he has gone through!  I can honestly say that Jake's positive attitude has made things so much easier on Joel and me.  I am still having those days of paranoia as far as how active Jake is being while recovering.  I still get feelings of anger,  and occasionally cry because of the grieving that I am still going through.  It has not been easy for me to this day to absorb, but I truly feel that it is going to take time, my time.  It has gotten easier, but the pain is still there deep in my heart.  I'm trying!  One of our dear friends heard something at church and felt that he needed to share it with me in order to help me heal and get an answer to my why's.  He said that sometimes there are friends who God takes out of your life, because you lean on them more than you lean on Him.  I thought that it was a great and important message for me to hear.  So if you hear of a message and thinks that it will help me in some way, I would love to hear them!  Life has moved on and is continuing to be busy.  However, please continue to say prayers for Jake.  Please pray that his graft is intact and is healing the way it should, that he is watched over while at school, that no infection occurs, and that he regains his hearing when this is all said and done.  We are still left in limbo on what lies in the future for any and all prayers will be so ever appreciated and heartfelt!  It means so much that you check on our family through our blog..........

Lots of love,
Joel, Annette, Jake, and Ayden

Monday, August 8, 2011

Post-op Appointment with ENT

More pictures, Mommy!
Today was the day for Jake's Post-op appointment with the ENT.  We knew that the doctor was going to have to take out the sponge that was in Jake's ear.  The doctor stated that it was probably not going to be fun for Jake.  Geez!  Here we go again with not knowing what to expect.  Before we left to the appointment I had explained to Jake that we were going to see the doctor so that he could take the sponge out of his ear.  I told him that he would have to sit really still so the doctor could be really fast and that it was going to tickle.  So we get to the ENT office and as we are waiting for the doctor Jake starts looking at the posters in the office and starts to ask us how the doctor fixed his ear and what he fixed.  It looked so cute watching daddy explaining what the pictures were and what the doctor fixed.  Such a brave boy!  So then we moved into the room next door so that the doctor could remove the sponge.  The doctor also decided to remove the tube that was in his other ear since we were already removing things from his ear. See, when this incident occurred, Jake had tubes in both ears.  So the tube that was in the injured ear is long gone and lost.  Kind of creepy thinking about where it went!  Anyhow, the doctor took out the sponge just like that and Jake did not even flinch!  Yes, he did it, what a champ!  I was so excited!  All morning long I was asking and praying that Jake wouldn't feel any pain.  The doctor stated that he has never seen a child do so well like Jake did!  Amazing!  So that part was over, another hurdle, that we were again not wanting to face.

Getting ready to take out sponge
Sponge (top), tube (bottom)
We have to continue to use a plug during bath time, and we cannot submerge his head in any water for another 6 to 8 weeks.  It will be a long recovery, but I am so grateful that I can hug on Jake, love on him, see him run and play and most of all laugh!  We will go back to see the doctor in 3 to 4 weeks.  Please continue to say prayers that Jake's ear heals with no pain, no infection, and that his hearing is regained, so that we will not have to go through another surgery!  I have added a picture of what his incision looks like today.  Every time we see his ear it is a constant reminder of what Jake is having to go through.  It has been a BIG challenge not to get angry every time!  Since I have been writing about Jake's blog I have realized that I need to start focusing on my heart healing, as well.  This has not been an easy situation for Joel nor I.  I just wish I knew where to start!  Jake's spirit has not suffered and that is what keeps us going!  We will all heal, with time.  Again thanks for all the thoughts and continued prayers for our family!  Jake is a true champ in our eyes.

Incision behind ear
Lets not forget the little brother, Ayden, who has been a champ through all this too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The day is here for Jake's surgery

Of course, Joel and I stayed up till all hours of the night avoiding going to bed.  We knew that when we went to bed, we would soon wake up and get ready to take Jake to his surgery.  That may have backfired on us as we are exhausted now, but everyone deals with things in their own way right :)!  Well, needless to say, it was inevitable for this day to come.  It is, the day that we have been dreading since we heard the word "possible surgery."  Want it or not it was going to happen!  So we get up and Jake happens to wake up earlier than he normally does, what are the chances?  We've now got to occupy a 4 year old to not want to eat or drink anything until his surgery at 11:10am?  I banned the entire house of eating or drinking anything until he left to surgery.  Let me just tell you this, it is possible, because he did it!  Amazingly he never really asked for anything, and I thank my in-laws for being here that made this possible!

He was playing, giggling, and having all kinds of fun!  Meanwhile, I am watching him with my eyes flooding with tears already and we hadn't even gotten to the surgery center yet!  Geez, this is going to be a tough day, I say to myself as I try to get myself ready.  On the way to the surgery center he got some toys and made an angel, and says, "look mommy an angel!"  I said, "wow," and he said, "remember when I made an angel in the snow?"  "Yes, I remember Jake!"  At that moment, I knew that he was surrounded with angels and that he was protected!  It was pretty awesome, it was exactly what I needed!  Earlier in the morning, my cousin called me who recently lost her 15 year old daughter, Alexis, out of nowhere with an illness that she got.  Well, my cousin called me crying and told me that she told her daughter Alexis to be with Jake through this.  She also told me that she told Alexis to let me know that she was with Jake and I believe that when he made an angel out of toys, that was it!

Mommy, enough kisses!

Silly Juice with smiley face in his left ear
We get to the surgery center and it is time, just like that!  Wow, Jake is a champ!  He is one of the bravest kids I know!  He goes back to surgery with his Captain America doll and his Halloween Garfield movie playing on the dvd player.  Life is good on silly juice!  Let me tell you, I was about to ask for a shot of that silly juice myself, because my anxiety was through the roof!  Of course, I cried the tears that I had been holding back since I woke up that morning and my most AWESOME husband comes to my rescue with, "he's going to be fine, Annette, we've got to believe that he's going to be fine."  I don't know what I would do without my husband, he truly is amazing!  So the tick of the clock starts as the countdown starts for a 3 hour surgery.  It was probably the longest 3 hours of my life.  It felt like a lifetime, but we managed through it!  "Mr. and Mrs. Garcia, the doctor is ready to talk to you!"  Joel and I could not run over there fast enough!  "He did great!"  What a relief!  The doctor stated that he fixed the hole with the skin graft, which he believes will be successful!  He also stated that he did not touch the bones, because during a reflex test the bones were functioning the way they should.  The doctors gut was telling him not to touch them, to leave them alone, and see how Jake's body tries to mend them back together!  Another relief!  This journey is still not quite over yet, but the surgery was over and it was a great moment for us!  It is now time to see Jake!  Jake was quite, but awake!  He slurped on his popsicle that was given to him and was ready to go home.  We got home and he bounced back to himself, which was so great to see.
Came out showing Gig'em :)

Let's go  home!
I'm so happy to be home!
  He has truly amazed me in this journey and I believe that all the support and prayers is what has given him the strength and courageousness to endure this experience that he has had to go through!  We will continue to take this journey day by day and continue to have faith that god is here with us every step of the way!  I pray for a quick and speedy recovery and that Jake continues to be pain-free and able to swim, something that he is been wanting to do, sooner than we expected!  Lots of love to everyone!
Jake, Ayden, Annette, and Joel

It has been a long day!

Preparation for surgery with the Child Life Specialist

Today was the test to see how really prepared I was for what we were about to be facing tomorrow with Jake's surgery.  We had an appointment with the Child Life Specialist.  Michelle met us at the front of the surgery center and helped to prepare Jake and ease my heart!  Jake was all smiles as he typically is, which made it much easier for me to get through.  Jake got a checklist of exactly what was going to be happening.  She took us to the pre-op rooms and showed Jake and let him experience what his visit would be like.  He was able to wear a doctor's hat, and smell the bubbled gum scented gas mask that they were going to put him to sleep with.  Michelle also wrapped Jake's Rhino Build-a-bear with the dressings that Jake would wake up to so Jake would know exactly what was going to be on his head.  Ayden even wanted his Monkey Build-a-bear to have the same dressings!  Overall, I think this tour was harder for me than it was for Jake!  At the end, Jake and Ayden, got a popsicle for being such good troopers through all this.  When it was all said and done I got in the car and immediately started to become flooded with anxiety, fear, helplessness, anger, and all the emotions that come with this situation.  I found myself driving us straight to church!  I took the boys to the noon mass and met a dear friend of mine who has helped me keep the faith that all will go well and that god is keeping an eye on Jake!  Church has always been a quiet haven and place I have went to since college just to take a breath, regroup, and pray for things that were out of my control.  I am so thankful that I can go there at any given time and feel the peace that I need to get through the trials that we are put through.  Needless, to say, I left church with a little more strength than I had before I got there!  It is so easy to get sidetracked and focus on the negative and anger that I have, but I have got to stay focused and keep FAITH that Jake will be okay and get through this, that we will all get through this!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


“I love you so much, mommy,” while rubbing my arm up and down is what Jake said right before heading out to our ENT appointment.  My sweet boy who out of nowhere tells me that with a huge smile on his face.  Now, as I walk outside of the ENT office, I have to explain to my sweet baby that he will have to have surgery.  How do you start to begin to explain this to a sweet innocent boy who did no wrong.  Joel is right, his spirit is not broken, he still has that sweet smile and is full of joy.  Meanwhile, our hearts are breaking for him with anger, fear, shock, and the list goes on.  
I first want to say, “thank you,”  to those of you who check this blog continuously, call, email, and text to see how we are all doing!  It means so much to us that we can’t even explain.  
As we were on our way to the CT scan a couple of weeks ago, I was digging in my purse and came across my camera.  I told myself that I should take a picture of Jake by the CT scan because this is a journey that he is having to go through and I want him to see how brave and strong he was when he is older.  So I decided that I am taking pictures of everything that Jake is having to endure so that everyone can see for themselves and understand his journey.  
The ENT appointment in a short form went like this:  The hole is still there and needs surgery to be repaired.  His hearing is the same as last time.  As far as the CT scan goes, one of the bones in his ear has been separated and the doctor will not know what to do with this bone until he goes in there.  The surgery is set for Tuesday, August 2nd.
At the beginning of all this, I was trying to figure out a way to make this a positive experience for Jake instead of it being a negative one.  So I decided to use ABA therapy, something that I was taught when I was a Behavioral Resource Therapist.  This involves getting a treat for everything that he is having to go through so that he can remain strong through some painful things.  Here are some of the treats that he has gotten for being one of the strongest boys I know!  Right now at this moment you cannot put a price on just making him smile for what he is having to go through.  
I continue to pray that this will not break his spirit.  This journey is not over yet, and I just pray that we will soon be able to put this whole experience behind us!  We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for all the support, words of encouragement, and prayers out there.  Please keep them coming for Jake’s upcoming surgery.  

Hearing test every time we visit ENT.
Lots of Love from the Garcia's!

Ear plug that we have to put in for every bath.