Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Epic Fall Update (2 of 3)

Welcome to November! The month I would like to refer to as "The Month From GOD." By the first week in November my kidneys had returned to a level of functionality that made dialysis no longer necessary and I was beginning to be able to be contribute at home without being easily fatigued. All in all, it was an opportunity to spend an entire month with my family at the age of 28, when my sons are 1 and 3, and still have a job to go to when it was over! THANK YOU GOD!

Additionally, GOD's love was shown to us in many ways. From the many visits from family and friends, to meals every other day from our church family, to just the unbelievably quick recovery of my body.

One amazing night in early November came from our wonderful friends (more like family) who took our boys for the night. With already three kids 6 and under at home and number four on the way, taking on our two energy balls is nothing less than miraculous! Thanks guys! We love you!

But even with a night to ourselves, we were glad to have our boys back the next night and took the opportunity to get in some extra snuggles over the next few days :)

So cute...

I like to think he's praying in his sleep

A whole bath full of toys and they just want to play with the faucet.

Laundry Babies!
(Getting rides around the apartment)

One of the meals we received was from our lovely friends Mr. Jason and Ms. Justine. Levi really liked the frosting on the cupcakes :)

Bedtime Snuggles!

Silly faces with Mama

"I'm so pretty"

Levi was in need of a trim...

But this was no ordinary trim job...

Bye bye long locks!

Aunt Sammi is in town to do some damage!

Mama waits in anticipation for her new Levi boy
(future uncle Dylan is very excited too)

A new hairstyle is forming...
(Thanks to TV Levi has no idea)

So that's what his neck looks like

He's a totally different little boy!

AND is SO cute!

Looking hip, Levi!

Jenny will not be happy about this picture but Levi's smile is too precious not to share

Tigue's turn!

Not much to work with, but the mullet has to go!

Mama can handle this!

No more party in the back :)


Levi took the new hairstyle over to his friend Jane's birthday party. And yes that kid has a Spider-Man hoody! AWESOME!

Looks like an add out of Baby Gap or something...

I don't know where one ends and the other begins!

Tigue was just informed it is bed time...

But Levi gets to stay up :)

Ok, you can too Tigue...

This is Levi's impression of cousin Liz
(It is spot on)

Tigue loves to wear medals...
Future champ!

Nothing beats a kid cart at good ole' Trader Joe's.

A little west of us there is a preserve with walking trails and wild animals that are used to humans...

Just a couple of cuties on a stroll...

Another good sign for my recovery; I was able to not only drive my family to the preserve but was also able to walk around for an hour without needing a nap!
 Tigue on the other hand loved to take breaks

 Another future magazine ad...

Brotherly love!

So, we made it through November! Yes, there was Thanksgiving in there too, but somehow the camera never made it out. I can say that we stuffed our faces and that I was able to eat whatever I wanted, so another great sign that my kidneys were filtering like champs! Another quick side note on the preserve. They have a herd of deer that live there and we were able to get within about 20 feet of a few doe and about 20 yards from a gorgeous eight-point buck. He was huge and it felt weird to be so close without him caring, but it was a fantastic experience, which I plan to enjoy multiple more times as long as we live here in Chicago! Thank you again to all those who were praying, provided us meals, and visited in November; your generosity and time made us feel amazingly blessed and loved. Have a great rest of the day all and look for part three this weekend!

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
    and HE will reward them for what they have done." ~ Proverbs 19:17

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Epic Fall 2012 Update (1 of 3)

Welcome back! I can't put into words how sorry I am... but I am, I promise. It has been too long since I had a good excuse for not posting, but more on that later. Let's jump back to the first weekend in October...

During the first weekend in October we had two life changing events take place, first was our dedication of Tigue to the LORD, which is a public display/calling to have our friends and family hold us accountable to raising Tigue in a CHRIST-centered home. We were blessed to have both family and friends there to support Tigue, us... and our goofiness :)


On a quick side note, Tigue did get out of his cast as scheduled. Here he is trying out his healed leg on the grounds of one of the children's museums in Chicago.

Back to Tigue's dedication, here he is with our good friend Chris. Chris and his lovely wife Kelly came into town to be there for Tigue's dedication and support their friends running the marathon (including me) that Sunday.

Here is our great clan of family and friends that came to support us...
From left to right: Kristine, Chris and Kelly, Nancy (Jenny's mom), theJonesPod, Wendy (my mom), and Mykalanne (my youngest sister) - thanks all; it was wonderful to have you there!

With the dedication festivities behind us it was time to prepare for the marathon. I had all my clothes and accessories all laid out and Jenny and company had made some wonderful signs!

Shoes... check! Digital tracker... check!

 World Vision Jersey... check!

Jenny and company were ready to go too :)

RACE DAY! Supporters- are you ready!?

Here I come on the right side of the picture - orange jersey, blue shorts!

Man I was fast ;)


Snack break!

So, the marathon was incredible and all my training was keeping me on pace to actually beat my expected finish time, but at mile 24 something went wrong... For one reason or another my body stopped working and it was literally like hitting a fatigue wall. I couldn't run, I was dizzy, and my legs were getting sore, but I could walk. Over the next two miles, between small jogs and extreme fatigue I tried to finish the race. I made my way up the last hill and somewhere as I came down the hill in the last 100 yards of the race my legs gave out and I collapsed. The next thing I remember was waking up in the medical tent on a cot. 

Later I would find out that two wonderful volunteer medical specialists helped me up, walked me through the finish line and got me to the tent. The long and short of my experience in the medical tent was a 106.9 degree temperature, an ice bath, extreme pain, and the confidence that I wasn't making it out of that tent alive. However, my desire to see my wife one more time and GOD's mercy (more the later) kept me conscious when I should have been dead or at least unconscious. The medical team was able to reduce my temperature to 100.6 degrees and get me into an ambulance.

Jenny didn't actually get to see me until I was in the ER, and that is another story entirely- and for another time. Over the next couple hours I was able to regain most of my awareness and heard that I was being diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, which is commonly found in earthquake victims that have been crushed by buildings and in some less common cases... individuals that push their muscles beyond their limits (most common in marathon runners). Well, rhabdo in it's most basic form is the extremely rapid breakdown of muscle tissue and the release of toxins into the blood stream as a result (see my toxin-riddled urine below).

As a result, over the next 24 hours it was determined that my kidneys had shut down to protect themselves from the toxins and the pressure in my thighs had escalated so much that I now had compartment syndrome in both. Compartment syndrome is another trauma-induced conditio,. but is not commonly caused by rhabdo; it was basically as if my legs were experiencing the effects of being hit by truck. This required emergency surgery to release the pressure in my legs. The surgeons made 12" incisions on the outsides of each of my thighs and let my muscles expand/pop out of my body to reduce the pressure and prevent me from needing amputations or dying. Secondly, I needed to have a catheter surgically inserted into my jugular to help clean my blood (dialysis).

The next two weeks were spent in the hospital recovering and being monitored for further complications. I was an off-the-charts case for numerous reasons, but the two that stand out the most to me were my bilateral thigh compartment syndrome and my CPK rating (CPK is an enzyme released when muscles break down). My CPK units/L of blood maxed out at 598,000. That was more than double what any of my doctors had every seen or heard of, and is supposed to be less than 200 units/L. Secondly, none of my doctors had seen or heard of bilateral compartment syndrome in someone's thighs (one my doctors is now writing an article on me so that it is documented). Disclaimer: a lot of these doctors are some of the best in their fields both nationally and internationally, not just in Chicago. So, these were not hospital doctors with limited experience... I was at Northwestern!

I will ruin the story now and let you know (for those that do not already know) I have made almost a full recovery over the last two months. My kidneys came back a few weeks after I got out of the hospital and my physical therapist will have me jogging this week! 

GOD was my great healer and physician and worked both through my doctor teams and directly upon my body. Thank you to all those that prayed, visited, wrote, called, emailed, and posted to Facebook. All I can say is wow! It was amazing seeing HIS body come around us and be the there for us in EVERY way we needed you. GOD was so evident throughout this recovery. HE did things that had the doctors scratching their heads, had us praising HIS name, and for those of you that have not heard all the details and would like to know more... we should talk.

So, back to October... this is where I could have shown you pictures of me in the hospital, from my sickly face to my exposed leg muscles to my neck catheter, but I'll spare you and go back to our happy boys! (If you want to see pictures let me know and I can email you...weirdo, j/k)

This picture was taken a one week after I got out of the hospital and though I may have lost a good 20-25 pounds (and not in a good way), as you can see I was already standing on my own and able to hold Levi (with two arms). This was the day the boys came home from their nearly two week stay in WI.

The rest of the month was spent mostly in bed or on the couch, but occasionally I got out with Jenny and the boys and we hit up our closest park (for my sake).

Where's Levi?

And that leads us to Tigue's first Trick-or-Treating!

He was a tiger!

And Levi was a Lightning McQueen race car driver!
(Yes, he used his helmet as his basket)

Candy testing break!

I was able to last the whole night walking around and was glad for every moment! It looks like Tigue was concerned that Ms. De (our good friend taking the picture) was going to take his candy. Jenny was "Dorthy Getting Married," a little play on Rachel Getting Married with her Ruby Red Toms Shoes :) and I was a guy with failed kidneys... because I had just found out earlier that day that my kidneys were recovering!

How much candy can we eat tonight?

And we've made it out of October! There is so much that happened that went undocumented or that I am forgetting to mention but this covers the two key events. Levi and Tigue spent the two weeks I was in the hospital in Wisconsin with their grandparents (thank you again family), so once I get those pictures I'll make another Wisconsin adventure post. Additionally, there were so many wonderful stories that came out of this tough situation. Great stories of GOD's sovereignty, grace, glory, and power, but again I think those deserve their own post too... it's going to be a busy month for posts! Have a great week everyone and thank you for your patience, love, and time. The November post will be up later this week! One last thing... I go back to work tomorrow, for the first time since the hospitalization, please pray for Jenny and the boys at home without me and for me getting back to contributing to society!

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your GOD who goes with you. HE will not leave you or forsake you." ~ Deuteronomy 31:6