The surgical staff was correct - everything went very smoothly today. Sara even stopped by for a visit as we were going through the pre-op process. Dante was his typical stubborn self, but who wouldn't be on no food or drink and woken up early! He doesn't come down off of anesthesia very well, but made the nurses giggle when they said his name and he replied, very sternly, "I'm not Dante. I'm Buzz Lightyear."
We were home by 1 and Dante has had no pain medications since leaving. (They told us he would probably need some as soon as we got home.) Tomorrow might be a different story, but we're much relieved that the surgery is over. He has 5 days of no bath, which he's pleased about, and 10 days of light activity.
As long as Carina is careful, we shouldn't need to return to the hospital until December. Woo Hoo!
First order of business with this post: Dante is scheduled to have his medi-port removed on Tuesday, July 29th. Please send all your positive vibes for an event-free surgery. The surgical staff told me it should be pretty straightforward, as soon as he wakes up from the anesthesia, we can take him home. He'll have steri- strips across the scar and he'll have to take it easy, but nothing major.
I've been talking to him about it and I think he's a little freaked out. (As am I.) The port is something that's part of him. (He has had it two years next month.) Tonight he said, "OK, but not yet."
As for his scar, the surgeon plans to remove the scar while removing the port. Since he has a hypertrophic scar, he might have another one from this surgery as well. We'll have to address that as it happens.
Now, on to the fun stuff...Did we have any more mishaps on our summer road trip? NO! Whew. We were gone about 3 weeks and packed it in! (Beware of lots of photos - I just couldn't decide!) We went to the lake and the splashground just about daily. But we also fit in visits with friends and family.
We went to Misquamicut, Rhode Island. I now understand why so many people like beaches like Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach instead of Ft. De Soto. (If they are from New England that is.) We walk over the dunes and it's a sea... of people and umbrellas everywhere! And the parking lots were half empty! We spent a week at Alligator Point and the kids hardly played in the sand. We couldn't get them to stop playing in it up there! Weird. There were lots of cool rocks and the water was super cold. We all had a blast. It was surprisingly mellow and relaxing, even with all those people around.
We spent July 4th with some school friends of Chris's in East Hampton. Dante was showing off his mad diving board skills to Jim, Cindy, Zack and Riley. Then, Carina had to join in of course...
We all had a really relaxing and fun day. The kids were passed out before we made it home.
We visited with Grandpa, Lynda and Uncle John. Dante was enamored of all John's electronic games and especially liked to rock out to guitar hero. (Or was that Chris?) For about 10 minutes after we left that night, Dante kept repeating, "I don't want to go!" Then he promptly passed out.We lucked out and got to play with Grandpa at the lake another day while we were there.
Next, we were on to visit with another school friend of Chris's, Katie, and her family. This was an especially cool visit for our family, as Rob went through the same experience as Dante, with testicular cancer. He had all the same chemo drugs and everything. We were able to talk to him about the experience and have an adult's perspective on it, plus someone who could communicate about it! (At 2, Dante couldn't tell us a whole lot of emotions or physical symptoms.) Rob even has port scars that look like Dante's. He is thankfully cancer-free and has had his port removed. He was telling us that the traditional "remedies" for the keloid or hypertrophic scars are pretty painful. (That was very helpful for us, I think we'll avoid those with Dante.) Today, when I was discussing his port surgery he told me he wanted to have his port "be like 'the boys' dad, Rob". (Katie and Rob have 3 super cool boys and Dante was having trouble remembering all their names!)
We had yet one more high school friend of Chris's to visit in New York City. We knew we'd have a good time and the kids would enjoy it, but we had no idea just how much! They are still chanting the mantra of wanting to see Chaz and Lucy. We (crazily, in hindsight) took the subway from Queens to Coney Island, with 4 toddlers, whose ages are 2 (Carina), 3 (Chaz), 4 (Dante) and almost 5 (Lucy). We did survive the hour and a half ride however and were able to get the kids on some carnival rides and even fish for a whale for each one.
After the rides, we went for pizza and then got ice cream from an ice cream truck. It was a super hot day and we were all good and sticky by now. So, by the time we got home, it was time for a bath! I think that was the first time Dante didn't fight about taking a bath the whole trip! Jen read books and the kids were off to bed. Jen and Mark fixed us an awesome meal and we were able to hang out and chat.
The next day, we were off to the Museum of Natural History. We figured they would all be into the dinosaurs, but as it turns out, we did a lot of this...
Not really, I just think this photo of Carina and Chris is adorable. She did that all by herself, just went over in the corner and pouted. That's her new 2 year old thing, because this was her birthday!
We had a good time and got back in time to play with the other kids in the children's garden outside.
We even celebrated Carina's birthday before bed. Check out the almost 3rd visit in a month to the ER at the end of this video...
We were all sad to head home after such a great visit, but all good things must come to an end. We had one more adventure up our sleeves in CT and then we had to head back to Florida.
We went on an excursion with the kids on our last afternoon to find a river they could wade around in. We stopped a few places and Dante and Carina just loved it. It was a perfect afternoon to say goodbye to our trip. Dante was very sad to be leaving Connecticut and kept saying we had to stay "4 more times".
We have kept really busy since we returned with as many play dates as possible. None of us is looking forward to going back to school/work, but we have certainly made some good memories to think of when we do.
About Me: On August 30, 2006, Dante was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Germ Cell Tumor. This means that he has a cancerous tumor in his pelvis that has metastasized to his chest, lungs, back and lymph nodes.
When we first got to the hospital, not only were a bunch of strangers coming in to poke and prod Dante, but all sorts of equipment was beeping and adding to the confusion and terror. So, we started mimicking the sounds the machines made in a silly way to get Dante comfortable. He would make all the techs and nurses smile by making the silly sound the temperature and BP machine made. We taught him to take deep breaths whenever the oxygen sensor would beep, and Chris taught him to say "Fries are done!" whenever the IV would start beeping. Hence, the name of our story.