Saturday, September 29, 2012


Everything is going exceptionally well.  Juan Pablo got some sleep last night.  I think I slept a little between 4 and 7 am. :(  With the hourly vital and neuro checks, monitors beeping, sirens and the Lifeline helicopter coming and going it wasn't easy.  He feels good, is eating good and is just his normal self.  No pain at all.  He just wants to go home.  Maicol and Andrew are here for a visit.  I'm going to go home with them and Dan is going to stay tonight.  If his blood pressure stays where they want it to he should be able to go home tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers.  They have certainly been answered.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Juan Pablo Update

Juan Pablo had his embolization this morning.  He had a hard time waking up from the anesthesia, but is doing good now - eating ice chips and watching TV.  He should be able to sit up in a couple of hours and then can have some real food.  He is hoping for Taco Bell, but I think we'll start with something a little milder. :)  Thankfully they were able to do what they needed to in this one procedure, so he will not need another one.  We spoke with the neurosurgeon this morning and have scheduled his surgery for November 1.  So for now we are just hanging out at the hospital for a couple of days and watching his blood pressure to make sure it stays low.

Thanks for your prayers. 

Dan and Karen

Monday, September 24, 2012

Juan Pablo

On June 26 Juan Pablo had a seizure.  After a trip to the ER and some tests we discovered he has an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).  This is something he was born with and we would not know about it until he had symptoms - such as a seizure.  An AVM is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins.  These can occur anywhere in the body, and Juan Pablo's is in his brain.  There are two options - either treat it (if possible) or wait for it to rupture and bleed.  Fortunately, in his case it is something that can be treated.  After lots of doctor appointments and tests we are now preparing to begin treating his AVM.  This Friday he will be going to the hospital to have the first of probably two preliminary procedures.  They will be doing an embolization.  Basically putting him to sleep, inserting a very thin catheter into an artery in his groin, "snake" it up to his brain and then very carefully guiding it into the AVM.  Once they have the catheter where they want it they will begin to put glue into the veins and arteries involved to cut off the blood supply to the AVM.  Assuming all goes well it will take a couple of hours and he will stay in the hospital for two days.  He will probably have to go back in about two weeks and have it done again.  After that we will schedule his main surgery.  They will actually go into his brain and remove the AVM.  This will be a big surgery and involve a week long stay in the hospital. 

While this is certainly not something we would have wished for there are some blessings in it.  An AVM is a very scary and dangerous thing to have.  Many of them bleed, but his has not.  We are thankful.  Many of them are too large or in an area that cannot be treated.  His is a medium size and in an area of the brain that is easily accessible.  So, while the surgery is not simple, the percentages that he will be cured are good.  We are thankful for that.  He has had two seizures, but nothing else.   We are thankful for that.  This has not been an inexpensive thing.  We do have health insurance and have almost met our maximum $10,000.00 out-of-pocket amount.  After this his treatment will be covered 100%.  $10,000 is a large sum, but with savings, our Health Savings Account and what we saved from the adoption tax credit we received last year it will be paid for.  We had planned to add onto our house, but Dan felt like we should save part of the tax credit - "just in case" and wait to build.  So we have not had to go into debt to pay the bills.  We are thankful.  Our "big" kids live close and will be able to help care for Maicol and Andrew while we are with Juan Pablo in the hospital.  We are thankful.

We ask for and covet your prayers on our behalf.  I will update the blog on Friday after his procedure. 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Wow, where did the summer go?  Swimming, walking, schooling, lots of backyard baseball and the beginning of bathroom remodeling.  It's fall and we're still doing much of the same. :)  Here are some recent pictures about what is going on at our house.
Andrew came in with a very cooperative (not very healthy) butterfly one day.  He had it on his finger and all over his face.  Creepy, but also kind of neat.
For school we made goop or whatever you want to call it.  The most popular version was a yellow-green color that we called fake snot.  Gotta love having boys. :)
No post is complete now without an adorable grandson picture.  Aidan is 11 months old and such a sweetheart.  We think he's pretty special and smart just like his parents (and grandparents).
On September 10 we celebrated the 5 year anniversary of officially becoming a family of 7.  We met each other on August 27, 2007 and it became official on the 10th of September.  Since we were gone for that day we bought an ice cream cake to celebrate.
We are currently enjoying our fall vacation to Laguna Beach, FL.  The weather so far has been wonderful and the boys have done really well.  The drive down went very well.  iPods and The Little Rascals on DVD were a great help.  We also "celebrated" our 30th wedding anniversary yesterday by taking them with us for a steak dinner.  Not terribly romantic, but the food was good and there were no food fights. :)  We call that a successful dinner out! 
When we went to the ocean yesterday the waves were very calm and it was a great day to see what was in the ocean.  Maicol and Juan Pablo are checking things out.

This is what we saw.  There were up to three of them in a group swimming around us.  We also saw them jumping out of the water and doing flips.  Very cool!

 Here are Dan and the boys.  Somehow they seem to be getting taller and more grown up every year. But then, I guess that's what they're  supposed to do.  We still have days that are difficult, but for the most part things move along smoothly.  We do school year round, so they are having school even on vacation.  I did try to include more interesting and fun things so it wasn't met with quite as much resistence. 
Juan Pablo will be going to see the interventional neuroradiologist on Sept. 21.  He will be doing the embolizations on his AVM and when that is done we will go back and see the vascular neurosurgeon to plan his actual surgery.  I would guess that the surgery won't happen until toward the end of October, but we won't know when until the preliminary procedures are done.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  We'll update the blog when we know more.