Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spring Season Opener - Week of Apr. 24th

Before taking the field
The first thing to know about playing baseball in Michigan is, Michigan's really cold. ~Derek Jeter
There are only two seasons - winter and Baseball. ~Bill Veeck

Most of you who have been following Cam know that the West Michigan Miracle League has been a part of our lives since 2014.  The inaugural season opened in the fall of 2013 and Cameron wanted in for the second season.
Coming into home plate!
Background: The West Michigan Miracle League was founded in 2011 by a dad on a mission to help his son continue to play baseball.  Their son, Jed, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma (brain cancer) December 27, 2006.  He was 2 years old.  Because the tumor was located on the brain stem, the resection took away his ability to walk, talk, etc.  Jed continues to work very hard to regain these abilities and uses a walker.  Jed LOVES baseball.  He wanted to continue playing.  It was the dream of the Comden family to build the field not only for Jed, but for all the other kids out there who love baseball, but are limited physically or cognitively and struggle playing with their peers.  It is also their dream that their daughter, Riley, will benefit from the determination, bravery, courage and joy Miracle League kids exhibit on and off the field. ~Tony and Marcy Comden 
(WMML Website)
3 Amigos- Cam, Ms. Kathy, and Brody
Since 2014, Cam hasn't missed a spring or fall season.  As proud parents, we have watched a sometimes shy, tentative boy grow to have persistence, self-confidence and tenacity on the baseball field and in life.
Each season and every game, we often see special guests appear...our Cam cheer on our son. We cannot express enough thanks for the time put forth by others to light up that smile on Cam's face.
For the opening game, Cam's teacher, Ms. Kathy arrived to cheer on two of her students- Cam and Brody, who just happen to be best buddies in Ms. Kathy's classroom.  The boys have a teacher who not only excels at instruction and finding creative ways for her students to learn, but also is a huge baseball fan!
Katherine (aka Ah-Dah), her husband Paul, and their super adorable son, Bexley, came out in the cooler temps too to cheer on Cam.

Many different organizations volunteer their time each week- high schools, colleges and businesses all take turns.  The volunteer helpers this week were from Zeeland West Catholic Baseball team.  Three very cool baseball players hung out with Cam to assist.  For the spring season, our baseball boy is a part of the WMML Red Sox team.

It seems Oma never misses a game and she arrived early enough to ride over to the field with us, anxious to see her grandson play ball.  We were fortunate enough to have her with us for quite a few days.
Saturday afternoon, Cam and his grandma made some homemade gooey slime.  Such a cool project (from the Auntie Jo basket) and one we'll be able to use over and over.

We thoroughly enjoyed a delicious Sunday dinner with the Raisch fam and "Papa"/Mr. Ken.
Oma and Cam enjoyed more play time and Cam's parents, well they enjoyed relaxing for awhile...(with infinite thanks to Oma!)

Camology Quotes:

The end of the bathroom project is in our sights.  The old shower door and adjacent glass were removed this week so we could clean the area and patch it.  Due to this development, we told Cam we would need to use his shower for the next several days.
"Ok, Mom and Dad.  I will let you use my shower because you are nice parents and you do so much for me."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Journal for your Thoughts - Week of Apr. 17th

Journaling: Paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out. ~Lee Wise
Journaling is like whispering to one's self and listening at the same time. ~Mina Murray

At school, Cam's teacher, Ms. Kathy, has been working with him on keeping a journal nearly every day.  Cam expresses his thought and his teacher captures them on google docs.  One day, Cam arrived at school slouching just a bit.
I felt like I was a monkey because I was sliding a lot in my chair. It made me laugh. My shorts are slippery in my chair.

During the week, we had a stormy night and the next day at school, Cam told Ms. Kathy this story.  When there is a storm I am scared. The thunder scares me. It is loud. I wake up. I think about dreams. I feel better.

Contrary to what Cam's dad may say, Jane did not influence this journal writing at all.  When I have money I like to save it. I save it to buy something. I would buy clothes.

We all enjoyed the abundant sunshine and planted Easter flowers from Oma.  From the activity basket Auntie Jo provided, Cam made the pringle can bird feeders by helping spread peanut butter around the cylinder and covering them with bird seed.  Chris attached them to the tree and the birds spotted them as soon as we went back inside.

The indoor project of the master bath was coming together nicely.  Project Manager Cam is quite the taskmaster and keeps everything in check.

Entering the third week of Cam's post surgery recovery, we've had some bumps along the way.  Cam isn't always smiling, but he hasn't complained once about his temporary chair or his inability to move it around himself.
As parents, we've quickly realized how much we've come to rely on Cam's independence and look forward to day he'll regain it again.

In the meantime, be inspired by this boy who accepts the circumstance and keeps moving forward, without complaint.

Camology Quotes:

Cam's sense of humor shines through even when he isn't necessarily trying to be funny.

"Mom I'm bored."
"Well, Hi Bored.  I'm Mom.  Nice to meet you."
"We already met."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Finding Treats Along the Way - Week of Apr. 10th

Deer have appeared again
in the backyard
Easter represents hope and renewal.
As we prepared for Cam's first day back to school since surgery, we were hopeful, but quietly a little apprehensive as well.
Cam was quite restless the night before and didn't sleep well at all.  Monday morning he announced he didn't feel very good and would like to stay home from school.  Jane had a day of work meetings planned so she convinced Cam to work in his "office" right beside hers in the dining room.
Mom and son were good co-workers and busy all day.  Jane was so thankful Miss Amanda arrived a couple of hours early to hang out with her buddy.

Tuesday was a new day and Cam was ready to get on the bus and back to school!
Just an hour after arrival, Jane received this email from Cam's teacher...
We are off to a great start...the wheel chair fits under Cam's desk...which was a concern of his before the surgery. Kids are so happy to see him...tons of hugs for him. :-) Gianna is pushing his chair and being so careful that is beautiful to see.

Although erratic sleeping continued, Cam had a great week at school and settled back in.

The weekend brought Auntie Jo complete with a delicious lasagna dinner from Carraba's including all of the fixings.  So many thanks for a night off of cooking and great company!

On Sunday, Oma and Opa arrived for our family Easter celebration.  Cam's annual egg hunt was a bit modified this year as he had to direct his driver to each hidden egg.  Soon his basket was quite full as he managed to find all of the expertly hidden chocolate and hard boiled goodness.

In the past, Cam didn't have much interest in deviled eggs, but that changed after he tried the mixture by licking a tasty beater.

With the sun shining, we enjoyed a steak dinner outside on the back deck for Easter dinner.  A delicious dessert of Oma's homemade strawberry cheesecake and strawberry ice cream concluded our meal.
While Cam and Oma completed some crafting in the bright sunroom, the warmth of the day filled our hearts and the smiles shown brightly.

Camology Quotes:

With the temporary manual wheelchair, Jane has been driving Cam in the van down the driveway to meet the bus in the mornings.  This is due to the weight of the chair and steepness of the driveway.  It also gives Cam and his mom some time to chat about "important" things while waiting.

Mom, why is your hair not curled today? 
There are curls.  They're just in the back of my hair today.
Let me see... I like the curls in the front. 
Ok, when you get home from school today I'll have curls in the front. 
How do you move them? 
Mom, when is your first meeting? 
In 30 minutes, Cam.
You should have time to go to Starbucks and get your coffee.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Road to Recovery - Week of Apr. 3rd

Cam's new right hip!
The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love. ~Hubert H. Humphrey

When Cam was in the hospital and Emma came to visit, it upset her to see her buddy not himself and in pain.  Jane explained to Cam later that the best friends of all in your life are the ones who care for you so very much, they feel your pain and may wish they could even take it away or feel it instead of you.
Auntie Karen (a.k.a. lifesaver) arrived to stay with us for the week and help ease our transition with Chris headed back to work and Jane working from home. Karen and Jane are so fortunate to be "anywhere workers" meaning they can truly work from any place as long as they have a high-speed internet connection.  
Ms. Barbara & Cam & caramel corn
Cam was still on spring break this week and Oma arrived on Tuesday to stay for a couple of days.  Two people are currently required for Cam care due to the wedge pillow between Cam's leg and the need for stability when lifting for bathroom transfers, bed, etc.
We all enjoyed a visit from Aunt Joyce and Aunt Gay and they brought with them Cam's favorite new game,  Uno Attack.
Grand Valley professor, Dr. Lisa and graduate students, Kelcey and Katrina popped in on Wednesday and chatted with the recovering boy.
Puppet show theater
Miss Amanda was in throughout the week and took Cam to visit with some doggies she was taking care of over spring break.  It was good to get outside and feel the fresh air! Miss Anne also hung out a bit in between her college classes.
An 8+hour power outage made things interesting on Thursday.
Uncle Joe popped in to check on his great-nephew and Ms. Barbara from school surprised Cam on Saturday with some homemade caramel corn (which thankfully he shared with him mom!).
Amidst all of this activity, Jane was quite remiss she didn't take any pictures of the many visitors and lifesavers.  However, Cam wasn't quite himself until the weekend.  On Sunday, Emma arrived home from a fun vacation to Florida.  Even though they traveled 24 hours straight, driving back to Michigan, she still decided she needed to run over to see Cam and even provided a live puppet show!

Auntie Jo and Will showed up that same afternoon with an entire Mexican-style dinner and a huge basket full of activities for her godson to explore.
Cam chose the color mixing chart first and it directed which colors to mix like a scientific experiment, his favorite!

There are not enough thanks to go around for all of the extra attention, meals and gifts brought into our home.

So many cards, emails and phone calls came our way to check in on Cam's progress.  Once again, we were reminded of the amazing support system we have.

One of the cards that really took our breath away was from the Wyoming Police Department, where Cam toured for his birthday last summer.  It was signed by so...many...officers, detectives and department members.  To think that all of these individuals who met Cam only once took their time to write a personal wonder our son is so set on working for the police!

Camology Quotes:

As we all adjust to Cam's temporary situation, he has to rely much more on his parents.  
Each and every time they prepare to lift him, they hear...
"Mom and Dad, please be careful and don't break my legs."
A changeable marquee from Jane's boss!

With the wedge foam to keep his hips in place and using a manual wheelchair, we all decided it would be easier for Cam to remain undressed from the waist down to ease the discomfort.  Of course, he always had a sheet or blanket over his legs.  At one point during the week, he announced...

"You know I have to wear pants to school next week.  My principal would not let me go to school with no pants on!"

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Break Surgery - Week of Mar. 27th

Pre-op waiting room
Our view from the 5th fl
"Always laugh when you can.  It is cheap medicine." ~ Lord Byron

Surgery: the treatment of injuries or disorders of the body by incision or manipulation, especially with instruments.

Cam was scheduled for the most major surgery of his young life.  A CT scan confirmed in late December that our nine-year-old had a right hip dislocation.  He wasn't in any immediate pain, so after a surgical consultation, we made the decision to wait until spring break to undergo the procedure.  Cam talked about surgery with his teachers at school and was under the misconception that his hip being outfitted with a plate and screws somehow resembled an object his dinner was served on.  When he saw a picture of a medical plate and screws, he commented "that looks like something from my dad's workshop!"
Monday evening, Cam enjoyed a pasta dinner and dessert.  He could not eat anything after midnight and could not drink any water after 6am.  As one might assume, he woke up at 6:30am very thirsty.
Chris and Jane skipped breakfast too and everyone settled into the van at 7:30a for the trip downtown.  Cam's procedure was on the docket for 9:30a.  We were in pre-op awaiting the event before 8:30a.  A surgical nurse informed us everything was a little delayed.  The anesthesiologist arrived and asked Cam "did you enjoy your breakfast this morning?"  Cam smiled and responded "I did not have any breakfast!"  Trick question from the crafty anesthesiologist.  Finally, at 10:30a, the team arrived to take Cam to the operating room.  Jane was the chosen parent to escort the brave boy.  She was able to stay until he fell fast asleep and was quickly led to the waiting room. Chris and Jane spent the next 4+ hours keeping themselves busy.
Buddy Emma
One of the surgical nurses provided an update halfway through to let Cam's parents know everything was going very well.  Auntie Jo stopped in at lunch time to check on the progress and provide support.

Papa Ken & Amanda
After a short stint in the recovery room, Cam was assigned to the 5th floor for our two-night stay.  He was a big groggy but anxious to eat "lunch" at 5p since he had missed the normal time frame. Little did we know that Tuesday evenings are Pet Therapy time for the kids at Helen DeVos Children's hospital!  Cam provided gentle pets to two of the canines right in his hospital bed.

Visitors arrived shortly after we settled in.  Ms. Ann brought a large bunch of handmade Get Well cards from her Alma College students and stayed for quite awhile.  Patti and best buddy, Emma had Cam open a gift...his very own "Sing" dvd movie.  He has declared this his favorite movie!
Papa Ken & Officer puppet

Teacher, Ms. Kathy
On Wednesday, we welcomed more guests in the afternoon.  Papa Ken and Amanda brought a few gifts too- four puppets, one of them a police officer as well as a stuffed animal and chocolates.  Cam's teacher, Mrs. Doorn was able to set up face-time in the afternoon for Cam to say hi to his fellow classmates.  She also made the trek downtown and brought Cam a round of homemade Get Well cards from his friends as well as some school work they had completed in class.  To round out the day, Auntie Jo arrived with Cam's favorite snacks and a cute stuffed dog with a Helen DeVos bandanna.

Sleep was challenging for us all with attempts to keep up with pain medication and foreign surroundings.
During the day, however, there were different activities to keep us all busy.  A kid's room filled with painting, games and crafts was located on another floor as well as a music therapy area.  Cam enjoyed the music therapy most as he was serenaded with one of his favorite Katy Perry songs.  It was a welcome relief to see our happy boy smiling again.

On Thursday, a former GVSU student, Ms. Ashley dropped by to see her buddy, Cam.  We were released late Thursday afternoon and thanked our favorite nurse, Mary, for all of her extra attention and care.

Upon arrival back home, Oma was waiting for us, anxious to see her grandson and hear all about his hospital adventures.  She brought plenty of gifts to keep Cam busy and helped immensely with his first two days of at-home care.

The Nolan family dropped by during the week with a huge batman balloon and sweet flowers.  A bouquet of Get Well Soon cookies arrived from Chris' company, FTC&H.
The visitors continued on the weekend with the Faber family popping in and Papa Ken making a return visit as well.  Oma went back home Saturday with the promise of re-entry on Tuesday.

Although recovery will be challenging, the wave of calming love surrounds this incredible boy.

Camology Quotes:

We told Cam all about April Fool's Day on Saturday afternoon.  That evening, he started in with his entries. Belly laughter ensued after each one.  He obviously cracked himself up.
After dinner:
"I do not want dessert tonight....long pause...April Fool's!"
At bedtime, Cam called Chris back into his room after saying goodnight:
"I decided I want hot dogs and pickles for breakfast...longer pause...April Fool's!"