Archive for May, 2013

A New Season Dawning

May 27, 2013

A couple we know from our days working in the inner city lost their son fighting in Iraq in 2004.  He was 21 years old.  Our old friends are on my mind today.  I have a son who wants to join the military…so much so that he is looking at schools with good ROTC programs.  I admit part of me is hoping it’s a desire he’ll outgrow but I am very proud of his sense of duty and his patriotism.  I’m grateful he has placed a value on “preserving freedom” and I wonder how that will play itself out in his life.  I try hard not to take freedom for granted…how blessed I am that it’s all I’ve ever known!  On this Memorial Day, I remember with deep gratitude the countless men and women who gave their lives to establish and defend MY freedom.

With Memorial Day comes the start of a new season!  Spirits are high in our household as the end of school nears (only 8 more school days left!) and summer is in the air!  Sadly, Wilson broke his arm last weekend playing an epic game of zombie tag which means he’s starting out the summer with no drums, no video games and no swimming but luckily he’ll only need his cast for 4 weeks so he has the second half of summer to look forward to. 🙂  Max (my lover of the culinary arts) has committed to cooking dinner for the family a couple of nights a week this summer.  He’s excited to master a few more recipes and I’m excited he wants to do it!!  We’ll see how that plays out for all individuals involved.  Ha Ha  Sweet Livy is excited to host swim parties, go to soccer camp, paint her nails (she’s becoming quite the nail polish artist) and craft.  I’m praying for a summer that refreshes them all.

It looks like we may be at the start of a new season for Rudy too.  We received a confirmation call from UCLA late last week to meet with a portion of the heart transplant team THIS Thursday, May 30th!!  You may recall that our local cardiologist communicated a couple of appointments ago that he felt it was time to begin “transplant talks” with the team at UCLA for the purpose of gathering information and  getting Rudy on the radar.  It took a few weeks to get all the paperwork and insurance authorizations approved but we’re clear to proceed now and, actually, Rolf and I are a little surprised they’re getting us in so quick.  Our initial consultation is with the head of the pediatric heart transplant program (Dr. Juan Alejos), the program nurse manager and pre pediatric heart transplant coordinator and a social worker.  We need to arrive at 8am for an echocardiogram, we’ll meet with Dr. Alejos et al at 9am and then have some more tests and lab work to complete before we leave…it’ll be a full day.  They’ll most likely want us to get a heart cath on the calendar as part of the standard procedure.  Our understanding is that Rudy would not be considered a candidate (for the Glenn OR the transplant) at this point because of his pulmonary hypertension but Rudy’s pulmonologist seems to think a heart/lung transplant is something we could consider so we have much to discuss with the team…so many questions, so many thoughts swirling around.

The opportunity to pursue a heart transplant would be an absolute gift, a miracle really, and it’s worth starting the process to see where it leads but it’s also one of the most terrifying scenarios for me.  The path we are on now is not perfect but it’s known…it’s familiar and we have learned to navigate it.  The transplantation journey is unknown, it involves so many critical variables that need to align just right, it feels complicated and scary.  I could burst into tears just thinking about it!  Too much analysis at this point is premature but we’re committed to carefully engage in the process and we pray for God’s guidance and wisdom.

We have much to be thankful for and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be consulting with people we know!  This situation could be so different…meeting doctors and surgeons for the very first time at these initial consultations, needing to review Rudy’s complicated medical history with each new specialist, etc, etc.  Instead, although we are starting a new process with a different department for an alternative treatment plan, the people are the same.  The Pediatric Heart Transplant Team includes Dr. Reemtsen (Rudy’s surgeon), Drs. Alejos (program director) and Perens (Medical support) and Halnon (Medical support) and they all cared for Rudy during his first 7-months in the hospital.  They are familiar faces to us and people we trust…that is of GREAT comfort.

We sure would appreciate your prayers…prayers specifically for our day at UCLA and for the days ahead that are so full of activities important to the big kids and our family:

Wednesday May 29:  Max’s 8th grade performing arts class production of “FAME” (Max is excited because he plays a significant character)

Thursday May 30:  Consultation with the Pediatric Heart Transplant Team at UCLA (Clear communication all around and calm hearts-for those of us with all 4 of our heart chambers!)

Friday May 31:  Rudy’s last day of school (A party, piñata, fun!  Don’t want to miss that!!)

Thursday June 6:  Max’s 8th grade graduation, Last day of school for Wilson and Olivia!

Thank you dear friends!  We are so grateful for today…we are hopeful for tomorrow!  As always, taking it all one day at a time…

Wilson only needs like 486 more X-rays to catch up to Rudy's total to date!  Awww, poor big boy!

Wilson only needs like 486 more X-rays to catch up to Rudy’s total to date! Awww, poor big boy – he doesn’t look happy!

After being away with Olivia for a 2-day soccer tournament and in the ER with Wilson the evening he got back, we finally got to have a belated birthday celebration for the man of the house...complete with a Carvel ice-cream cake!  By the looks of it, Olivia wasn't too keen on the shirtless action of her brothers!

After being away with Olivia for a 2-day soccer tournament and in the ER with Wilson the evening he got back, Rolf finally got a belated birthday celebration…complete with a Carvel ice-cream cake! By the looks of it, Olivia wasn’t too keen on the shirtless action of her brothers!  Ha Ha

One is never to old to have one's favorite Marvel comic antihero logo spray-painted on his cast...thanks to Dad.

One is never too old to have one’s favorite Marvel comic antihero logo spray-painted on his cast…thanks to Dad.

DP Music Award Night!

DP Music Award Night!  Wilson lettered THREE times in music.

5th grade "My Passion" powerpoint presentation by Olivia Geyling!

5th grade “My Passion” powerpoint presentation by Olivia Geyling!

We made a stop at our favorite beach burger joint to kick off the holiday weekend!

We made a stop for dinner at our favorite beach burger joint to kick off the holiday weekend!  Welcome summer!

Max’s video is making the rounds on FB but it’s a must-see here on Rudy’s Beat!  I’ve watched it many, many times and it still makes me laugh!

All of Me

May 12, 2013

Today has been a relaxing Mother’s Day in the midst of a marathon month of all kinds of end-of-the-school year activities!  I’ve appreciated a day with no plan except to play in the pool!  🙂  I’m in a season of life where simple is sacred and today was beautifully simple.  Mother’s Day is multidimensional for me…of course it’s a day to appreciate my own wonderful mother and be grateful for my mother-in-law who I genuinely love and respect…it’s also a day to remember the many “mother like” women in my life who have invested in me over the years and modeled what it means to be a woman of character and beauty…and, naturally, it has become a day for me to reflect on my own role as “mother” and the many ways I’m both blessed and challenged in that role.

From the very start of my journey as a mom, I’ve had the perspective that I am entrusted by God to care for the children I’ve been given for a season and that my investment has eternal significance.  Each of my children have enriched my experience with their own unique qualities and stretched me in ways I’m not sure I could be otherwise.  Rudy, of course, has stretched me in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined which serves to make me even more aware of what a gift they all are and what an honor it is to care for them…even on days when it’s hard and I’m uninspired.

Mother’s Day is also a day when my thoughts are with the dear women in my life who have lost a child…those who continue to navigate life with the heavy burden of a mother’s grief that may change shape over the years but is ever present…women for whom I am so grateful and through whom I have learned to see the beauty in every day of the journey for there is, indeed, beauty to see each and every day.

There has been a song on Christian radio the past couple of years called “All of Me” that has been a favorite song of mine for some time.  Ironically, it wasn’t until I really listened to the song recently that I realized it was about a child with a heart defect.  The song was written by Matt Hammitt whose son was born with HLHS three years ago and the song is about their bond.  It’s a beautiful song that so clearly expresses this mama’s heart…an appropriate reflection on Mother’s Day.  Click here Matt Hammitt’s “All of Me” to hear the song on youtube.

I’m sure grateful for the special mom/child moments we’ve shared the last couple of weeks…

Rudy enjoying a visit to GVJH to see BOTH brothers while Wilson was on campus to do some drum line recruiting!  :)

Rudy enjoying a visit to GVJH to see BOTH brothers while Wilson was on campus to do some drum line recruiting! 🙂

Rudy's new passion is to walk around Lake Los Carneros...Livy is eager to come along and carry the O2 concentrator!

Rudy’s new passion is to walk around Lake Los Carneros…Livy is eager to come along and carry the O2 concentrator…even after a rigorous soccer practice! 🙂

It just so happened that this year's teacher appreciation dinner actually happened on "Teacher Appreciation Day"!  We are, once again, blown away by the great people investing in our kids at school and so grateful for the community that surrounds our family.

It just so happened that this year’s family teacher appreciation dinner actually happened on “Teacher Appreciation Day”! We are, once again, blown away by the great people investing in our kids at school and so grateful for the community that surrounds our family.

Thanks to Rolf's foray into solar heat, there has been alot of "pre-season" swimming going on...much to Rudy and the big sibs' delight!

Thanks to Rolf’s foray into solar heat, there has been alot of “pre-season” swimming going on…much to Rudy and the big sibs’ delight!

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I enjoyed an evening out with Max on Friday night for the 8th grade Soiree...an annual parent/child event.  Max pretty much danced every song with a different gal pal but saved three dances for his mama! :)

I enjoyed an evening out with Max on Friday night for the 8th grade Soiree…a special  parent/child event at GVJH. Max pretty much danced every song with a different gal pal but saved three dances for his mama! 🙂

It was a big weekend for dancing as Wilson went to his first prom on Saturday.  As I helped Wilson prepare to get ready, it dawned on me that I went to my first prom this same week 30 years ago!  ha ha

It was a big weekend of dancing as Wilson went to his first prom on Saturday. As I helped him get ready, it dawned on me that I went to my first prom this same week 30 years ago! ha ha  Crazy!!!!!

Wilson was invited by his good buddy (senior) Jennifer...super fun!

Wilson was invited to the Senior Prom by his good buddy Jennifer…super fun!

The whole family are fun friends...the Geyling and Jimenez sibs (sans David and Jackie).

The whole family are fun friends…the Geyling and Jimenez sibs (sans David and Jackie).

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I thank God for the honor of being Mom to Wilson, Max, Olivia and Rudy.  They’ve captured my heart and they have all of me…the good, the bad and, sadly sometimes, the ugly.  🙂  I pray by God’s grace they grow to be confident, faithful and joyful individuals who are self-aware and others-centered…and who know how very much they are loved.

Happy Mother’s Day dear friends.