Green Pastures

Our little Levi’s next surgery is officially on the calendar for August 28th. We will be making the trip back to Cincinnati for several pre-op specialist appointments followed by surgery that Friday.

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This is surgery number 26 for Levi and will go very much like the previous ones. When we sign waivers in the pre-op room we check all the boxes for possible interventions. There are actually two parts to each surgery- a microlaryngoscopy and a bronchoscopy. During the microlaryngoscopy portion sometimes they need to trim his epiglottis, sometimes they do a balloon dilation in his airway to break up scar tissue, sometimes they do nothing but look and evaluate. But in addition to those interventions a pulmonologist cleans Levi’s lungs during the bronchoscopy and sends the fluid from them off to see if there are food or drink particles making their way into his lungs.

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We don’t expect to be admitted overnight and will likely try to make the drive straight home from the hospital that day if he is stable and doing well. Sometimes I have to run him on oxygen for a few hours so I keep him hooked to a hospital grade pulse ox for the 6 hour drive home to Tennessee. He typically runs a fever for a day or so after, which is an expected result of the bronchoscopy portion of the surgery. When we spoke with the surgeons last year the next expected major step for enlarging his airway would be removing the tonsils and adenoids but that wouldn’t happen this go around and would be scheduled for a later date if they decide it is truly needed.

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Obviously the BEST news we could receive is that his vocal cords are no longer paralyzed and that God has healed him! Unfortunately all of the clinical signs point to that not being the case and we fully expect them to say that things are the same as the last surgery. As long as we continue to avoid the trach route we are happy!

In order to find out if the cords are still paralyzed they have to send a camera down his nose when he is fully awake, which is a traumatic experience for both of us as I have to do the bear hug to keep him still.

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Because of COVID precautions Malachi will not be permitted in the hospital, and truthfully we wouldn’t want him in there anyway! It looks like Levi and I will be making the trip solo and Malachi and Jake will stay in Tennessee. Levi will also be given a COVID test pre-op.

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And things could likely change between now and then based on the spikes happening all over the country! But for now this is the plan we are going with. It will require Jake taking a few days off of work to sit home with Malachi since we aren’t sending him to school this year.

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Speaking of the pandemic…

Our area is starting to get a little more saturated with cases. Many of the stores we used to frequent are now requiring masks nationwide and we are thrilled! I was able to run into one this week for a few minutes to pick out some fresh produce; we have been doing grocery pick up but there is something about inspecting and picking out your own produce. I was able able to snag some fresh salmon from the seafood counter which was a real treat. And side note- still no bears this week! When we cook salmon we typically get a bear visit but not this week and we are loving it.

Malachi has been doing SO GREAT this week! His seizures have calmed down tremendously from last week and he even slept for 7 whole hours straight one night. What a blessing!

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All three of the Carroll boys got haircuts this week and now looking sharp! We have a friend that comes out to the house to cut hair for us.

 

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We took a few weeks off from horseback therapy and Levi hasn’t adjusted too well to going back to the barn each week. For the last two weeks we have dealt with a lot of tears, but hopefully with the routine back in place he will be able to adjust back to his normal, happy self. I was able to snap some cute pictures once we got him calmed down. We think the therapists masked face had something the do with the meltdown so we gave her permission to remove it for his session.

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Malachi is a rockstar cowboy each week. His favorite part is trotting on his horse, Farley. He has to sign to the horse when he wants him to go by tapping the horse gently on the neck.

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It wouldn’t be a Carroll week without a goofy story. You likely don’t know this about me, but I am not a fan of squirrels. When I was in 8th grade I went to Washington DC with a friend and we had heard that the squirrels were so used to people they would eat out of your hand. Of course, we decided we needed to experience this phenomenon and spotted a squirrel to approach. We squatted down and called it over with a handful of chips and when it turned to walk towards us there was clearly something wrong with it. As it ran towards us it couldn’t support the weight of his own head so it flopped to the side, banging on the ground as it ran frantically at us. His eyes were dilated and he was foaming at the mouth. It was the stuff nightmares were made of!!

We got up and sprinted away from the freaky beast and since then I haven’t trusted squirrels. I see them all as tree rats, one step away from the foaming mouth.

This week I was home with the kids and looked outside at the treehouse and spotted a squirrel. The deck part is 12 feet off the ground and we have never had a furry friend make it up there before. But here he was, perched by the window eyeing our bird feeder. Since Jake was gone I decided to sneak over and take a picture of it to show him later. As I crept over he disappeared out of sight, and when I approached the window he lunged and flew across the window…I have no idea what he is thinking because at that point it was at least a 14 foot drop to the ground and there is no window ledge.

Somehow he used his freaky fingers to cling to the ledge of the siding and got himself back over to the deck. But as you can imagine I wasn’t expecting him to fly by my face. Oddly enough I caught in on video, but I am too embarrassed by my horror scream to show it to you haha. Instead I will share a still shot from the video and you can use your imagination on the rest.

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Levi witnessed his mother’s craziness and now loves to re-enact the whole scene. He has also been re-enacting mom sneaking out and looking for the bears from the treehouse. He claims to see several and when I ask him what the bears are doing he says “not much”. Goofball.

Oh and two words to sum up the bit of chaos we have had this week: potty training. Game on.

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This coming week is our final week with Jake home all day. I am selfishly mourning the loss of extra hands throughout the day. It has been such a big blessing for our family to have him home for the last four months. We could really use your prayers for health as he plunges back into a germy environment.

As I reflect back on these weeks at home as a family I can’t help but think of the beginning verses in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.

Over the last four months God has used a pandemic to give our family a much needed break…one I don’t think even we recognized we needed. Initially we feared the impact that stopping therapies would have on our boys, but being able to swim in the therapy pool, play as a family, and spend our time at the house has turned out to be better than any therapy we could chase for the boys. They have both made significant gains and we have connected as a family.

I love the wording of the verses above. That second line: “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” that one makes me laugh a bit. Sometimes we get so sucked up in the busyness of the world that we don’t even recognize the green pastures surrounding us. And like a shepherd makes his sheep lay down and rest, the Lord does the very same thing for us! Just like little Levi needs his quiet time each afternoon so he can rest, God too recognizes when that rest is needed in our lives.

This week I am thankful for the Shepherd. I am thankful that He knows the route to all the green pastures, still waters, and right paths. And I am thankful that He knows me well enough to see when I am weary and gives me the opportunity to lie in those pastures. I am thankful for a God that knows me better than I know myself.

Please start joining us in prayer for Levi’s upcoming surgery. It is not a risky one in of itself but the idea of him traveling and entering the hospital for any length of time during this pandemic is not ideal. Pray protection over Jake as schools are about to open in our town. Pray for wisdom for me to process how to handle the transition back to being a solo stay at home mom.

May you allow the Shepherd to lead you this week.

Leah

 

2 thoughts on “Green Pastures

  1. My prayers are daily for your family n special boys. I will however pray extra for Levi and his upcoming surgeries. I ask that God will guide the surgeons hands n hold Levi in His arms. May God continue to sustain you n bless your family for your each specific need.   God is good always. Sending all my love n prayers!!~~~JessieSent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

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