Chance’s super powers


“It’s your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.” ~Dieter Uchtdorf

Just over a week ago Chance underwent his 12th surgery, a chiari decompression surgery. Before his surgery and in the first hours following his surgery we were incredibly worried. We’ve heard from families who also have children with spina bifida and also from nurses and doctors that this isn’t the easiest surgery for a child to go through and it’s typically more painful than other surgeries like the shunt surgeries he’s been through in the past. He was admitted to the PICU that day after surgery and we could tell just how much pain he was in that first night. The first night I was up with him often as he’d cry in pain and the nurses would give him more pain medicine, usually morphine. We all agreed when he awoke when he showed signs of pain again that we’d switch him to a different pain medicine and try our best to get him back to normalcy with his eating and drinking routines. He woke up…a hot mess, but with the first signs of being alert and awake since surgery. That alone was a blessing for me. In the hours that followed I swear I could witness him not only regaining his strength, but I’m convinced this boy really does have super powers!

We were all in shock, when he woke up he wanted to sit up on his own. Typically after this surgery kids have a very stiff and painful neck and don’t want to move much at all.

He spent the first hour awake watching cartoons.

And he began to eat goldfish too. Yes, goldfish for breakfast…thankfully that made his morning.

Eating goldfish made him happy, and before we knew it he began to turn his head. We were amazed. And he was smiling. The nurses came in and saw him and were also amazed. They together said “he’s not suppose to be able to do this yet!”

In less than a day our baby boy began to show amazing signs of recovery because most kids are that stiff that they have no interest in sitting up or turning their necks and most kids require physical therapy before they ever leave the hospital.

Not Chance, he moved a good bit that first morning after surgery…and the doctors, therapists and nurses all came in to visit him and were amazed by how well he was doing.

He still had some pain and did get tired a little more quickly than normal, but he was in great spirits.

He enjoyed goldfish often that first day after surgery. Though I promise we ordered real food throughout day – it made his day to have pancakes and later in the day he was quite happy to ask for a cheese “burger”…so cute to hear him say “burger” over and over when we give him that option.

That first day following surgery he remained in great spirits…he was silly quite often but at times got a little frustrated being confined to a hospital bed.

During the time we were in the hospital I found myself beside his bed admiring his sweet little face and expressions. Amidst all the chaotic and heartbreaking moments it’s tough not to admire the beauty and strength in this little boy.

We love chick-fil-a, but after Chance’s 12th surgery we really adore them. They¬† had one of their cow characters come around to visit the kids and deliver ice cream and a little toy cow. He was so excited to meet the cow, and for the first time I heard him say “cow”.

Being confined to a bed most of the day we kept him occupied most of the day watching tv and playing with toys. We brought his little wrestling figures and half the day he was pretending they were wrestling.

We were so reassured that he was doing so well and his doctor said if he continued to do well she’d let him go home the following day. We held our breathe because we’ve heard that before during all his medical moments…and often times complications would interfere with his recovery. Though he was in good spirits majority of the day, there were still moments where we could tell he was still in pain.

By the evening the day after surgery Hope & Jaylen came to visit Chance and it made his day to play with them both and spend some time with them.

Jaylen was sad that his brother had to be in the hospital and was also sad after we allowed him to see his “boo boo” from surgery after he and Hope asked to see it. Looking back at the photos now, you can see how worried and sad he was…but boy do I adore Chance’s spirit…here this kid is recovering from surgery and he was doing his best to cheer his big brother up and reminding him that he’d be okay.

These silly moments were among some of the most memorable from the time Chance was in the hospital for this past surgery. He’s just so darn expressive these days.

And so full of love. Boy does he love to give kisses. As he was in so much pain in those first few hours after surgery – he’d often pause to give us kisses to remind us how much he loves us all.

Before the kids left for the evening Jason played Chance’s latest favorite song, “blurred lines” on his phone. He’s that in love with it that if it’s on in the van he’ll beg me to leave it on. And the moment he hears it he’ll do something to catch out attention – and then start dancing, usually mostly with his head…sometimes moving his upper body too. It’s so hilarious. We shared a video in facebook that night because it was just so darn funny to see him dancing to it – and we knew it’d help so many people smile who were keeping up with his recovery. We could sense by the end of the evening that he was doing so well that we may really be going home the next day.

The next day we were up early, and I was doing my best to find ways to keep him entertained. He was so over having so many wires connected to him. And thankfully by the morning the nurses were given the greenlight to take out his IV. So I let him sit in the chair and play on my phone to pass time.

This past month this little guy has been so clingy…it’s like kids just know when medical moments are going to happen…and then when they do – his clingy moments were a lot more frequent. I couldn’t step more than a few feet from him while he was awake or this was the type of reaction I’d get from him.

But if I was close…he’d play and remain content and so well behaved.

One of the most amazing things about all the time Chance has been in the hospital is that we’ve always had an outpour of love and support, especially online. Among those who have reached out to us our spina bifida “family” has been among the most supportive group out there…praying, visiting, calling, texting, emailing. Many had intentions to visit in the 3-5 day time period we anticipated being there. Thankfully we were able to go home earlier. Just as we were told we’d be discharged, little Jericho’s family drove from more than an hour away to stop in to visit Chance. We couldn’t feel more blessed to have so many sweet families praying for us…and boy was it a treat to see Chance’s little friend Jericho…my how he’s grown since I took that photo of him on the beach with his hand in the air!

Once we received word that we’d be discharged it was only a short time later and we were packing our things to go home. Chance was happy…of course playing his favorite song helped keep my clingy boy content while we gathered our things.

We’ve been home nearly a week…and many of you are curious to hear how Chance is doing. To be honest, it’s really tough to tell he even had surgery. Physically he’s totally back to himself. We’ve been watching his incision closely and doing our best to keep it clean and so far he seems to be healing great. We’re watching him really closely and follow up with his doctor next week to find out how we’ll monitor his progress post surgery. After his appointment next week we’re hopeful that we’ll have him back in physical therapy and a lot more of our normal day to day activity. So far he’s had no issues and after the first day home we’ve been able to completely stop his pain medication.

We’re convinced he may very well have super powers, but we also believe he’s got one of the best neurosurgeons too. We were so fearful of this surgery and believe it might be a more complex surgery than a shunt surgery. In that first day after surgery as his nurses were amazed by how well he was doing we all not only joked about his “super powers” but one of his nurses reassured us that he really has one of the best doctors and that her kids who undergo this chiari decompression surgery typically always recover faster.

I’d like to also think that the power of prayer has also worked in our favor once again…much like how we felt surrounded by prayer in the past, we really felt the embrace of so many of you praying for our baby boy. We can’t thank you all enough for your love and support. In addition to his super powers to recovering from such a tough surgery so fast, he also has done some amazing things this past week. In the past week his team has doubled it’s donations, thanks to all of you generous souls…though I can’t help but think how much sharing these trying moments he’s been going through have some how touched you all to open your hearts to give a little more. We can’t thank you all enough.

Really, though his greatest super power this week…hasn’t been recovering from surgery. Just yesterday we invited a couple over who just learned they were expecting a baby with spina bifida to visit our family to meet Chance and one of his friends who also has spina bifida. Those who have received the diagnosis know just how tough it is waiting to have a child who will be born with spina bifida…this little guy and one of his little friends helped us give another family some hope as they now face the uncertainties of spina bifida too. Yes, this kid has been through so much, but I’m continually amazed with how resilient his spirit is through every trying moment he’s been through…he finds a way to smile, and very little keeps him down for long. Surely his spirit will continue to bring hope to other families…and that in itself is an amazing super power for Super Chance to share with the world.

Up…up…and…Away…baby boy…I’m convinced you’re here not just as a blessing to our family…but as a blessing to other families to help them find the hope through some of the same experiences you’ve been through living with spina bifida.

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November 26, 2013 - 11:12 am

Stacey - I am so glad to hear Chance had a speedy recovery. This post brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I know the love you have for Chance because I have the same immense love for my Beau. Our children are lucky to have us and our lives wouldn’t be as sweet without these precious gifts.

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