Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Dreaming of A Quiet Christmas

First, an update on Brennan: His hypospadias repair has hit a snag and it looks like we'll need some follow-on procedures to get all his plumbing back to 100%. There's no reason to think any of this is un-fixable in the long run, but it's still pretty discouraging in the short run. He's in some discomfort, and we just feel awful for the little guy.

On a semi-related note, it's been interesting to see how Brennan's hypospadias repair has almost completely pushed our worries over his cheek scar out of our mind. This kid's got a nearly 2" curved scar on his cheek. There's plenty of bruising and redness around the scar from the procedure. I'd imagine anyone that saw him out at the store would think, "Oh that poor little boy." But for Lisa and us it's no big deal. None at all. When we stack it up against our concerns over his other issue, it just pales in comparison to the point of insignificance. It's not exactly how I expected my prayers over his cheek to be answered (aka us "getting over" it) but there it is.

The rest of the family is just spent emotionally and physically. Poor Clay ends up in the middle of all of it. He's acting like a normal (nearly) 3 year old boy -- wild as a hare. I'm sure he picks up on Lisa's and my tension and he just amplifies it. We're so short on energy and patience that it's a challenge for us to deal with his outbursts constructively -- but we're trying.

I've been back in the office for the past week, but I've decided to go ahead and take off the week between Christmas and New Year's. If I don't my head may finally fall off my shoulders completely.

So this year, I'm hoping for a little bit of peace. That's my Christmas wish, for your family and ours, that the bells would peal "more loud and deep" to remind us "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A-OK

There will be no pictures accompanying this posting. If you could see what Lisa and I have to see every time we change Brennan's diaper, you'd be thanking me profusely for keeping it text-based.

We've been telling ourselves over and over for the past several days that while gruesome, everything is proceeding according to plan and that, at the end, everything will be just dandy. But uneducated pep talks and optimism can only take you so far.

Fortunately, Lisa was able to squeeze in a visit to our urologist this afternoon and he gave Brennan a clean bill of health. The swelling is continuing to recede, the color is improving and all the sutures appear to be healing well. Yay!

So that's a huge load off our minds -- I was practically crawling out of my skin at work this afternoon waiting for the word from Lisa.

Now I can get back to all the other exciting things going on in our universe . . .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful

Brennan and Scott

Well, Brennan's all in one piece (when you consider all the stitches holding him together).

The first stage of the birthmark removal went well -- only about 30-45 minutes -- but the hypospadias repair was a completely different story: His urologist gave us an estimate of one hour to three hours for the reconstruction, based on the severity of the birth defect. After two hours of waiting, I became a little discouraged. After three I knew it was going to be a significant procedure.

In the end, it was a little over three hours for the reconstruction. After he was done, the urologist met with Lisa and I to discuss his findings and the results and confirmed that Brennan's birth defect was more significant than we had first anticipated. Fortunately, he still felt very confident in the outcome -- it just meant more work and more recovery.

Brennan has a bladder catheter that will be removed on Christmas Eve (season's greetings!) and is a very sore little boy. Thankfully, they've sent us home with Tylenol codeine which is doing wonders to keep him comfortable, docile, and resting.

In many ways, I've been very aware of the spiritual component to this whole process. I've spent a lot of time in prayer, and I've been so encouraged by all who've been faithfully lifting Brennan, Lisa and I, and his doctors up for weeks and even months now. There's no doubt in my mind that God has heard and blessed them.

On top of the prayers, the Christmas season has so deeply shaped my perception of today: A celebration of a God who came among us as a baby boy. Brennan's vulnerability and even suffering echo to me the scandalous reality of the Christ child sent into our troubled midst. I'm touched deeply tonight by a verse of Chris Rice's song, "Welcome to Our World":

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Saying Goodbye To The Birthmark

Brennan

If you asked me a year ago how I'd feel about removing Brennan's birthmark, you'd get an emphatic "Yes! Take it now!" A year later, I've grown comfortable, even fond of it.

Tomorrow morning, we'll begin a staged process of removal and I'm really going to be sad to see it go. I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of months staring at his cheek and giving it kisses. It's become very much a part of who he is, but I'm optimistic that the remaining scar will likewise become a unique part of Brennan and I will one day celebrate its presence as well.

In the meantime, I'm confident that removal (and doing it now) is the right path. We've met with a dermatologist and two different plastic surgeons and all agree that it is a sebaceous nevus. As such, it's very likely to begin to change heavily at puberty -- becoming thick and wart-like. There's also an increased probability of skin cancer. An excision now will eliminate all of this. The scar won't grow in proportion to his face (unlike the birthmark) so we're in essence "locking in" at a much smaller dimension. Finally, what teenager wants to worry about warts popping up on his cheek and a lifetime of removals? Life is complicated enough on its own.

So, tomorrow morning little Brennan will undergo his first surgery. Any and all prayers for a safe procedure and quick recovery are most appreciated!