Sunday, February 19, 2012

The continued journey to recovery

February 2012
Greetings my friends! Wow, it has been awhile since I've written......the problem with blogs is that you have to keep blogging....and if most of you are like me, it's a challenge to keep any one thing going! Mea Culpa!

Many of you are keeping up with Makenzie via Facebook. She posts often. It has been a challenging year for her in her continued recovery. I did say continued. Yes, she is still recovering. Like for many thousands out there who have survived a traumatic situation, recovery is a part of every day life. Let me just share with you some of the highs, lows, and current challenges she has.

In January 2011, Makenzie had extensive surgery on her left foot. In the months following the accident, her foot began to turn inward, almost 90 degrees, due to the extensive damage caused by the accident. The procedure included placing a rather large fixator on her foot/leg. This apparatus included rods that were attached to her bones in her leg. She had to turn the screws several times a day for months. After a couple of weeks we began to see the foot begin to straighten. This whole ordeal was VERY painful, very tedious, and included a lot of trips back and forth to Texas Orthopedic Hospital. Makenzie could not place any pressure on her foot, so she could not stand. The fixator was also very heavy. There were several days that the pain was almost unbearable. Keeping the posts cleaned was a daily ritual. This was at times also very painful. Honestly, I am in awe of how much suffering this girl has endured.
In August of 2011, the fixator was finally removed. Makenzie began physical therapy to build up stregnth in her legs from being basically sedentary for the previous months. She and her family also decided to postpone college for another semester so to be more physically prepared for the college transition. She did take an online government class and did very well. She, being her mother's creative daughter, had begun making jewelry while recuperating from the fixator surgery. Her new interest gave her the opportunity to make a little side business for herself called "Chuncky Junky Jewelry".
Physical therapy, studying, and jewelry making. That's pretty much what Makenzie was doing throughout the Fall. However, in mid October, it became apparent that her left foot had started to turn inward again. Of course, not to the degree it had been previous to the fixator, but turning just enough to make the gains in learning to walk more painful. So, back to the doctors at Texas Orthopedic they go, to know why this was happening. After a few meetings with the limb restoration doctor and the foot doctor, the conclusion given was that she would need another surgery. Not the news anyone wanted to hear. Very dissapointing for Makenzie. Very concerning news for her parents Pam & Chuck and brother Kaleb. The family decides to postpone any decision until after the Christmas holidays. Makenzie still has to finish the online class, make jewelry, and get ready to be in a wedding. Deciding on the present tasks at hand was something better to dwell on...
In December Makenzie began to increase her physical therapy. I saw her take steps at Christmas for the first time in two years. One week later, she walked down the aisle with a walker in a friend's wedding. Here she is looking so beautiful.....
In January Makenzie had a consult with the foot surgeon as to what to do about the foot. The solution for the current situation was difficult to hear: more surgery, very risky, extremely complicated, larger fixator, more serious complications, surgeon very reluctant to do it, not guaranteed success..... The other fixator doc was not at this meeting however. So, here we are.

It is now late February. Both the foot doctor and fixator doctor have met together and have called the family in for a consult. That meeting is Friday, February 24. Chuck has asked for prayers for this meeting, for wisdom, and most of all for healing of her left foot. I ask you my friends for your prayers.....
Let me just say how much I appreciate all of you. This has been a long journey for everyone, most especially for Makenzie and her parents. We have celebrated with the highs and wept with the lows, and we're still recovering. Many of you out there are doing the same. Never before have I been so aware of it. Many of you are on your own journey to recovery. For many of you it is still going on.

Scripture for the day to dwell on..... Hebrews 12: 12-13 "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed". Thank you my friends.... Mary

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

3 times a day.....

Good evening my friends!

Well, the first step of a long journey for the next 4-6 months has been taken. Makenzie's surgery on her left foot went very well yesterday, better than expected say the the docs! One prayer that was answered is that the fixator apparatus that had to be placed on her leg was not as big, burly and heavy as was expected. If you look at the picture on this page you will see what it is.....honestly, it's big enough! And, extremely complex! To think they were going to put a bigger one on....I yi yi!

This Ilizarov fixator is a relatively new procedure in the U.S. I was so fascinated after seeing it in person I went to look up some information about it. It is named after the Russian orthopedic surgeon Dr. Avram Ilizarov. Dr. Ilizarov grew up in the peasant class in the back end of the Soviet Union. He attended medical school and became an orthopedic surgeon in the 1940's. He got the fixator idea from looking at how a wagon harness fits on to livestock, specifically horses. His first fixator for healing crushed and deformed bones was made of bicycle parts. So here's a guy who grew up around poor peasants like himself, looking at horses and cattle and one day by trial and error design an apparatus that helps so many patients become mobile after trauma or deformity. It took an idea and intestinal fortitude to make something.....something that could change someone's

No matter where you are and where you are from, you can do something to help others in your life, and maybe everywhere else. You never really know the impact of your existence, whether your a world reknowned surgeon, or a checker at Walmart, or a school teacher, or just being the best parent you can be. Never underestimate what YOU can do.

So, Makenzie will adjust this fixator three times a day. With each turn, her foot will become more straight, with the goal of walking on both feet. It's going to be a while, but it will be. Lots of cleaning, pain meds, discomfort, etc, ahead....but ultimately the end is walking. We look forward to that day!!

So my friends, pray for continued healing, pray for no infections! Prayers have made such a HUGE difference already. We cherish each one of you for being there!


Monday, January 3, 2011

A new year, time to get on with it!

Happy New Year Everyone!
Hope you all had a peaceful holiday season spending time with family and friends. As much as I love Christmas and all of the things the season brings, when January comes I'm ready to get back to routines; kids back in school, husband back at work, me back to whatever's required at that moment....

We have some updates and some things to pray about. Like today. For tomorrow.

First off, after having a pretty difficult time with illness in October, Makenzie gained stregnth and weight in November and December. Thanksgiving this year was a time of true gratefulness as my sisters and I and our families came together and camped out! Yes, camping at Thanksgiving.... a tradition the Hines family had for many years growing up. And Makenzie came out too! It was a milestone of sorts for us, and a time to just be together and enjoy family, fellowship, and great food!

In early December, Makenzie went in to consult about her feet at Texas Orthopedic Hospital in Houston. She and her mom & dad have decided to have work done on her left foot. This procedure is very tedious, and the recovery/rehab time is 4-6 months. It will involve a halo/fixator around the lower leg/foot, so to rotate the foot to a straight position. It is not a procedure for wusses, as it involves lots of maintenance. The surgery is scheduled for TOMORROW! This is where you, my friends, come in. We have been praying about this procedure for awhile now, and we need prayers as we enter in the actual surgery and recovery time. Please pray for a good result, for complete healing, and for speedy recovery. Makenzie wants to go to college next fall walking......that it her goal. Honestly, right now she is dreading the procedure. However, she knows it's the way to the road to recovery for her. Remember the goal.....

I thank you my friends for all of the encouragement and prayers that have been said for my niece. The further we get away from April 29, the better we can see that it is truly a miracle she survived such and accident. Ever since then, I read in the Houston Chronicle every week about someone hitting a tree of power line with disastrous results.....not very many survive these kinds of accidents.

Pray without ceasing.....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Early Thanksgiving! Wow, it's November. I know, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. I now know why I don't do this for a living.... I have missed you my friends, and many of you have asked how things are going for Makenzie. She is progressing nicely, and I will give some updates. Makenzie might even chime in on this blog!!!

We are now at the 6 month mark....Can you believe it? It was hard to imagine six months ago what life was going to be like in November 2010. We were literally living day to day back in May. Many scary moments....the kind that change your life, the kind that make you look at things differently....

After having a real difficult time back in early October, Makenzie is finally starting to make some real progress. She became very ill in late September with pancreatitis that sent her to the hospital for a week. A couple of weeks after that, she became ill again and spent another week at Methodist Hospital in Houston. This all the while both Pam and Chuck were working....Very difficult and exhausting days....The good news now is that Makenzie is eating better and has starting to gain weight! Yea! I told her I would gladly sacrifice some of my own body fat and give it to her via transplant....She is also going to physical therapy again and continues to make progress. Often she goes to the school with Pam and helps her with her Kindergarten class. She even went to visit her brother Kaleb at Texas A&M! So, she continues to heal, continues to move forward.

A few weeks ago, she posted about the happiest day of her life......the day she could get a boot on her right foot (pic on here somewhere). While this activity might be mundane to you and I, it was a huge deal for her, as she hasn't had a shoe on her foot since was a big milestone for her. Most recently she got ahold of a sharpie and colored here wheelchair, naming it Wandette.....Wandette??? Well Kenzy, I'm glad you have a sense of humor!!!

My children pray for their cousin each day. She is ever on their minds. I know many of you pray for her too. This has made a huge difference in her recovery. God has worked through so many of you to help her and her family. Pam told me yesterday about a card she received in the mail. It was from someone she didn't know, a hand made card, beautifully done, very inspiring. She told me who it was from, and I actually knew the sender. Pam has placed this card next to the family pictures, so that she can see it. It encourages her and Makenzie. It figures that the sender's name is Grace....It is the little acts of kindness, done each day, that mean so very much. Never forget this, never give up in doing random acts of kindess, never give up on praying...

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I just want to tell you all how thankful I am for you being out there, praying for Makenzie. I am thankful for healing, thankful that my niece is here, thankful for my family, thankful mostly to God for bringing us through this. Many of you know what I'm talking about. Have blessed Thanksgiving my friends....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Labor Day My Friends!
Some good news this evening: Makenzie went home today from the hospital after being there for almost a week. She has had a severe bout of pancreatitis and had been in an extreme amount of pain. She has been resting and trying get her diet regimented. It's been an exhausting week for her, Pam & Chuck. Hopefully going home will bring on more rest and healing, as you know you never really sleep in the hospital unless you are unconscious! Been there and done that already......

Throughout this latest ordeal and actually since this journey started back in April I am continually reminded how much we need to pray.....not for just Makenzie, but for all of our friends and family for we are in contact with each day. There are countless "Makenzies" out there: some have broken bones, some broken hearts, some broken lives altogether. We are all signifigant to someone out there. We all know at least of a couple of people who really need to be uplifted. Just think of the difference it could make. Sometimes we don't see it, but things do happen. A kind word, a smile for the checker at Walmart, a casserole for someone who is recovering, a phone call or note on Facebook. A kind deed never goes un-noticed in God's eyes.

Makenzie continues to improve because so many of you think of her and pray. Many of you have called her, sent her notes and cards. Some of you have gone way beyond the call of duty and helped my sister. Some of you don't even know her or my family personally! Again, prayer changes things. So does love. Thank you again for being there!

Hope you all have a terrific Labor Day!
"We can do small things with great love".....Mother Teresa

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31

Good Evening My Friends,
It is now the last day of August. It's been four months since Makenzie's accident. She has made tremendous improvement over the past several weeks: walking with a walker, standing, beginning to work with crutches. Just like any journey you take, old issues resolve themselves and new ones crop up. Her left foot skin graft has healed very well, but it has turned inward. Decisions on how to best deal with that are being discussed currently. Another thing that just came up today is she has come down with pancreatitis. Often trauma/accident victims get this and sometimes it comes after a long period of intense medication. So, today we have some things to pray about.

Please pray for continued healing and for relief from the intense pain. She is currently in the hospital for treatment. Pancreatitis is extremely painful and the recovery is long. Pray for strentgh for her mom Pam.
When I know more I will post. Thanks my friends for always being there for my family. We are struggling, but we will prevail with God's help....
Good night!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

new milestones....

Good evening my friends!
Been out of town off and on for a few weeks. In the meantime, some new milestones have ocurred. Makenzie stood up for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and she took her first steps last week via walker! Of course, the air is thinner up there when you're as tall as Kenzie! So, she was a bit tired after the first couple of times. However, every day gets a little easier.
As well as things are going thus far, there are always new things to come up and lift up in prayer. Her left foot has progressed nicely with the skin grafts. However, the foot is turning inward by several degrees. Her right foot is better, but it has issues as well. As most of you know, Kenzie's feet were the most damaged in the accident.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) Pam and Kenzie will be seeing a specialist about her left foot. Please pray tonight and tomorrow that there will be a solution to the current problem. Pray for other issues concerning surgeons and hospitals to be worked out as well. Finally, keep praying for my sister, Kenzie, Chuck, and Kaleb. Kaleb leaves for college next week. Pam returns back to work at Big Sandy School. These are some hard days around the McLaurin house. Pray for stregnth.
Thank you my friends......