Friday, March 30, 2012

(Re) Connections

Karly is having surgery right now, in her very favorite hospital.  She is so confident with her amazing doctor and everyone here at the Levine Children's Hospital (part of Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte), that she went into surgery with excitement and a big smile on her face.  She actually told me, "I don't even need you to come with me mom, if you think you need to stay home with the puppy.  No one at LCH has ever hurt me".  We have been so pleased to find out that it is possible to have good AND compassionate care from every single person we come into contact with!  LCH does a GREAT job with this.  At our 'home' hospital, we are very blessed that we have a number of fabulous nurses and one especially amazing nephrologist (kidney doctor), but we have had a fair amount of very stressful and difficult situations as well.  Comparatively, it feels like a vacation coming here and is certainly worth every minute of the 1.5 hour drive to get here.  And the payoff is a happy, confident child who will recover much more quickly from a major surgical procedure.

In August, Karly had a 'minor' procedure to narrow her ureter and prevent reflux of old urine into her kidney (the original cause of her kidney failure).  Unfortunately, this over-narrowed the ureter and, with stents and other interventions to gain the correct size, the ureter shut down and lost some of its blood supply over about a 4 inch section.  Today, her urologist, along with a transplant surgeon he trusts (who was also great to talk with this morning) are attempting to re-connect her transplanted kidney so she has a clear pathway to her bladder.  We feel very good about this team and she is so looking forward to getting rid of the nephtube that has been the only outlet from her kidney for 5 months!  Good luck, Karly (the bravest girl I know!).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Don't Know About You, But I Need to KICK When I Swim Butterfly!

This year, since Karly was aging out of our neighborhood swim team, she decided she wanted to swim in the 50 Meter Butterfly event for 15 - 18 year old girls.  Karly has been swimming on our team since she was 9 years old, but she generally swims breaststroke or freestyle, although she often swims butterfly in practice.  The kids on our team are AWESOME, as they will swim butterfly with her and not use their legs as well.  We have had the best experience with everyone in our league being not just supportive, but very encouraging to Karly (please notice her friend Ashley in the lane to the right, and see that she walks toward Karly after she completes her race to give her friend encouragement).  And Karly impresses me as well.  Of course she can't go as fast as the other swimmers, since she can't use big, strong leg muscles, but she knows that her goal is to compete against herself and she has kept track of her times for years.  She continues to amaze me every day!

Friday, November 25, 2011

More From Karly's Make A Wish Trip

While on Karly's Make A Wish trip, we visited Sea World (which is right across the street from Discovery Cove).  It was definitely another fun-filled day.

We started by visting the very glamorous flamingos. 
Then we went to visit the manta rays and had a chance to feed them.

These guys would practically throw themselves up out of the water to get to the food people are passing out.

Next, we saw our favorite marine creatures -----  the Manatees!

Eating bagged salad greens. The same kind we get at he grocery store.


....And one more favorite -- SEALIONS!

What contentment!

....and, last but not least, an amazing octopus

We had such a fun day!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Puppy Pictures

Oops - I can't forget the puppy pictures. 

Our new little Pippa.  She is keeping us VERY busy and she even kept our extended family members pretty busy (while we were in the hospital!).

More Make A Wish Trip Pictures

Wow!  Time sure flies when you're having fun!  Or maybe when you've spent more than 25 days in the hospital with your child over the past 2 months.  Fortunately, this time, it was a pretty quick and easy issue to address - once we all figured out exactly just what the issue was (that was definitely the hard part).  Now that life has returned to normal, at least as normal as it can be since we added a new puppy 2 weeks ago, we wanted to post more pictures from our trip.  Maybe we'll even put up a puppy picture....

We decided to spend a day out on an airboat while we were in Florida.  Boy, did we have a great time.  We saw all kinds of wildlife, including a 'congregation' of 'gators.

Here are several young 'gators sunning themselves on a bank.  That was close enough, thank you!  After seeing the alligators right off, we went on to see beautiful settings and some gorgeous wildlife.

This picture cracks Karly up.  She thinks it looks like the heron is bossing the little bird around.  I think it does too!

Here are several more pictures, including my very favorite picture from the entire trip - a Great Egret caught just when he jumped into the air to take off in flight.  Look at the detail of his individual feathers!!!

This next one looks like a ballerina, as a different Great Egret lands.

We saw several birds of prey.  Below are two of my favorite 'predator' pictures.

A final Great Egret picture reflects the beauty and serenity of the day.

We all had a wonderful time.  Thanks Make A Wish and Boggy Creek Airboats Rides (who offer free rides to families on Make A Wish trips while they are staying at Give Kids The World Village).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Make A Wish Foundation and Karly

Karly had the most amazing experience in late December/early January when she had the wonderful opportunity to go on a Make A Wish trip.  Karly's wish was to swim with dolphins, so the Make A Wish team arranged for a trip to Orlando, Florida, where we swam with dolpins at Discovery Cove.

We ended up having TWO wonderful days at Discovery Cove (due to a computer scheduling issue).  The first day was spent snorkeling in the artificial reef, which was such a wonderful experience! I am not sure how possible it would be to give Karly that opportunity in the open ocean.  We also had a great time at the aviary - will post pictures from the aviary later.   But the day with the dolphins was the most awesome day!  We started out meeting 18 month old Acai, who let us play with her and hug and kiss on her.  The interaction with this sweet, young dolphin was such fun!

Karly's brother Rob got to come with us, and all 3 of us enjoyed meeting Acai!

After meeting Acai, her big, strong daddy came out to see us.  He showed off some of his tricks and then took us all for a ride around the lagoon.

It's pretty clear that Karly was having a good time!  She LOVED this opportunity and we are all so thankful to the Make A Wish Foundation for making this happen!  Big thanks to Discovery Cove too.  Their facilities are awesome and it sure seemed to us that the dolphins enjoyed their day just as much as we did!