Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good News Tempered with Reality

Greetings to all! Well, we arrived home from our appointments at Texas Children's hospital yesterday evening and I promised you guys an update. First and foremost, thank you all for the prayers and support, our family could not do it without yall. It is truly overwhelming to Ali and I the way that our family and friends have rallied with wagons around us during this difficult journey.
We got to the hospital about 8:30am and we're quickly brought to the back where Cate would be sedated for her testing. She was a little cranky because she hadn't eaten since 4:30am, you know us Cantrell's, you can take alot away from us, but don't mess with our food. She took the medicine like a champ and within minutes was sleeping like a baby, haha, cause she IS A BABY! We were then taken to the room where the Echocardiogram would be performed, the gentleman who did the testing was very nice and explained everything we were looking at, and somehow we still didn't always understand his medical lingo, but we definitely had a better idea of what was going on. Cate was originally diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot and an Incomplete AV canal. After the echo yesterday they were able to determine that she did not have Incomplete AV canal and the her Tetraology was a mild form, all good news for which we thank and praise God, who is so faithful!!! After about an hour of taking pictures of her heart they finished up the Echo and quickly did an EKG on her. By this time the sedation was starting to wear off and she was waking up. We brought her back to the room where they gave her medicine originally and she was able to eat. She quickly sucked down a cold bottle, bless her heart and went back to sleep. They then took a couple of chest X-rays and ushered us into and examination room where we were going to meet with the Cardiologist. He came in and sat down with us and began explaining all the results of Cate's tests. He was very clear about what was going on and like any good cardiologist drew us some pictures on a napkin. He then said we could begin the process of scheduling Cate for surgery. Because she is doing so well there is no immediate rush to surgery, which we were grateful to hear. We asked what surgery would entail and he began explaining the process. Since, Cate's birth we have always "known" that she would have to have surgery. It was just alot different yesterday hearing the seriousness of the surgery. It’s hard to hear the stark reality of what will happen to your child and what she will have to go through at such a young age.
We felt good as we left that we had a plan and that things were going to get rolling to get baby Cate's heart working better. But, it was a quiet ride home for Ali and I. It is just so much to rap your head around that it truly seems overwhelming at moments. We learned yesterday that Cate will spend 3 to 4 weeks in the hospital in Texas and that is if everything goes smoothly. That the shock on her body will take longer to get over than we had originally thought, realized, or allowed ourselves to think about. We have sheltered Ella and Dude from Cate's condition because we did not feel that it was something that they needed to worry their 4 and 3 year old minds about, right now. Well, now we have to let them in, age appropriately, because Mommy, Daddy, and Cate, will not be around everyday, as they have been. Questions began to fill my mind, Where will we stay, what will I do about my job, what about our other two children, how will they deal with this, how will Cate's little heart and body handle the surgery? All questions that have to be answered in due time. Ali and I sat in the quiet of trying to process all of this as we drove home yesterday. We know that the answers will come in their right time. We know that God will give us the wisdom to make the right decisions for Cate, for Ella and Dude, and for each other. It is a gift that we are not having to make these decisions in an emergency situation, but we have time to seek the face of God and what His plan is for our family. We have time to seek counsel, from people who work with children whose families are in difficult situations. We have time to talk to our parents about how the logistics will work with Ella and Dude. All in God's time the questions will be answered. He has brought us and Cate this far, our Faith and Hope are in Him who strengthens us and makes all things possible. The path was laid out for us yesterday, know it is time to start coming up with a strategy.
We ask of you, our family and friends, to pray for Ali and I, that we may seek God's desires for our family first and not act on emotion or pressure. That we may seek His wisdom and the wisdom of others that He puts into our life to aid us on this journey. I ask that you pray for Ella and Dude, that they can wrap their little heads and hearts around what our little family will endure as we journey together through this. And finally I ask that you especially pray for Baby Cate, that this surgery go well, with no complications, and that she can return to our family quickly and healthy. We know that we have a tough road to travel ahead of us, but we know that no matter what, God's grace is enough. We love you and thank you for your support and encouragement of our family!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I know I know I know

My wife has been on me for a LONG time now because I have not written a blog. And to be honest I don't know if anyone is even reading it anymore, but I figured I would write one anyway, just to have peace at home. Baby Cate turned 3 months old today! I can't believe how time flys, it seems like only yesterday we were in a world wind of confusion, fear, and the unknown. Now, we are still in a world wind, but it has change quite a bit. The adjustment of going from 2 kids to 3 kiddos has been relatively smooth. Although, I often have moments of sheer panic as I think we have forgotten Cate at the house, grocery store, a family members, or friends. In our house if you don't speak up for yourself you might get left behind, unfeed, unchanged, not put to bed. Of course I am just kidding...a little. On a more serious note Cate has exceeded everyone's expectations. She is truly a delightful child, mainly cause she can't talk back or demand to wear stockings instead of socks, because the "lines hurt her toes." But truly she is a wonderful baby! She eats like a Cantrell that is for sure. She is up to 7 or 8 ounces every 3 hours and when she is hungry she begins the battle cry for attention. Its is kinda like a car starting, she turns the crank just a few times to see if anyone will notice before kicking it in high gear. Like I said around our house, you HAVE to make yourself known! She is weighing in at a whooping 12 pounds and is growing like a weed! She looks just like her Big Sister Ella, so I am going to have SERIOUS problems in about 15 years. If anyone is interested in contributing I am starting my own version of "homeland security" for the Cantrell House complete with Booby Traps, Tazer guns, and Gun Cleaning supplies because it looks like I will have to clean my guns EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT!! Baby Cate has started responding to you when you talk to her, she gets so excited kicking her little chubby legs and showing all her gums. Her last cardiologist appointment was great! She is consistantly gaining weight, her blood oxygen levels are 99% and her EKGs look wonderful. We are in the process right now of trying to get her an appointment at Texas Children's Hospital for a second opinion and even to start seeing a Cardiologist on a regard basis there, before she has her surgery.
As most of you know who have read this blog before Baby Cate, whose full name is Catherine Francis, was named after Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, who was a redemptious (sp) priest who worked in New Orleans. The Blessed Seelos Shrine has a newsletter that goes out monthly and includes stories from people who have had prayers answered through the intercession of Blessed Seelos. I got a call from the friend of ours who told us about Blessed Seelos, saying that Cate was in the Newsletter. I was like, Really? That's cool. Andrea said, "Charlie, you didn't send it in?" I was like no, I sure didn't. Someone who had read this blog, especially the one about Blessed Seelos's intercession for Baby Cate, had copied it and sent it in to the Newsletter. It did not say her name or anything, I guess cause no one asked, but I could tell by my spectacular writing style that it was in fact Baby Cate. We were so honored to know that so many people from around the world know of Blessed Seelos's intercession for Cate and the miracle it is that she is with us today. His candle still burns in a kitchen everyday and we attribute her doing so well to his constant intercession for little Cate. Ali and I attended a healing mass that they had a the Shrine in New Orleans, where Baby Cate was anointed and prayed over! Thank you Fr. Seelos and all the wonderful people at the Shrine of Blessed Seelos! And to whoever sent in our story!
Please as Blessed Seelos's intercession that we can get an appointment soon at Texas Children's Hospital. We don't won't to have to be making any quick decisions if something were to happen to Cate. Our hope is to get an appointment soon so that we can get under the care of a physician there.
So for a few funny Cantrell Family stories. My little boy, "Dude" is in the middle of potty training right now, which is quite and experience. Little boys are SOOOOO different than little girls. When our little girl Ella was being potty trained I simply pointed to the potty, she got on and that was that. Dude, on the other hand can't seem to locate the bathroom. I leave cherrios trails from every room in the house all leading to the bathroom, I know he will follow food, but even that doesn't work. The other day we heard crying coming from the bathroom and out from the bathroom emerges our son, yes, with his training potty STUCK ON HIS HEAD! Now, what posseses a 3 year old to stick his head in his potty, I have NO CLUE, but he had managed to wedge his fat little head in there, thank God it was empty. Dude, LOVES his little sister, ALOT, it really is precious how he just delights in her. I do fear the day she is in High School and boys won't ask her to a dance because they are scared of him. I always picture the conversation to go like this, Boy 1 says to Boy 2, "Hey, You gonna ask Cate Cantrell to the homecoming dance" to which Boy 2 says, "I've been thinking about it, but have you seen her brother? Jimmy told me he eats light bulbs." Dude, loves Cate, he often wants her to be near him so we have to keep a close eye on him at tall times. The other day we found him dragging Cate by her blanket because she wasn't close enough to the toys he was playing with, thank God her mother swaddles her tightly and we no longer put her on the floor and she is always buckled into to something heavy. Ella, on the other hand is still growing into the fashion diva and is a 17 year old trapped in a 4 year old's body. Its hard to believe we will be registering her for preschool this weekend. This past weekend was Mardi Gras and we, as any good cajuns would do attended, da parade. We were at a friends house that was toward the end of the parade route, so it took a while for the parade to get there. The kids played in the yard and in the van until we saw the first police motorcycle go wizzing by. We gathered up the kids, grocery bags in hand, if your not from Louisiana, you put all the "wonderful" beads you catch at the parade in a grocery bag, and we headed down the street to the parade route. Ella asked, "Daddy, what are all these people doing here?" I told her they were waiting on the parade like us. Well, in good parade fashion, it was no where near close to getting to us. One rouge police motorcycle got us all excited. After about 15 minutes Ella was bored out of her 4 year old mind and the grocery cart man with all the junk that will cost you an arm and a leg for something that mommy and daddy will "lose" in a couple of days, was coming towards us, so I asked her, "Baby, do you want to go back and I will come and get you when the parade gets here? She said yes, and we started walking back to the house hand in hand. She looked up at me and said "Dad, all those people are waiting so patiently for the parade, and I just want it to be here already! Will you come get me as soon as you see the parade." I assured her that she would not miss one float of the parade. Well, needless to say, put a cute little Blonde on the side of a Mardi Gras parade yelling "Throw me something Mister" and they did, we literally had mounds of beads at our feet, by the time we left we had a kitchen bag FULL of beads, stuffed animals, you name it and they threw it at Ella.
The Cantrell's are doing well over all. We have our moments of tiredness and exhaustion as anyone with 3 kids under the age of 4 has, but we are savoring every minute we have with all of them. They are a riches, they are what make us laugh the most, and what we delight in. I apologize for it being so long since the last Blog and it won't be as long before the next one. As soon as we hear some more from Texas Children's I will update yall. I also will be getting some new pictures of Cate up in the next week. We love you, we thank you for your continued prayers and support as we walk this new journey with Cate. Blessed Seelos, Pray for Us!