A Bakers Dozen

1. I had a nectarine for dinner. And a cinnamon roll.

2. I started a new challenge and I currently hate Lisa at 40 is the New 30 for posing it as just such a dare that I immediately latched on and said yes.

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3. You should join!! It’ll be fun!!

4. My mom is in the hospital. She didn’t feel well Tuesday. Didn’t feel any better on Wednesday and thought she’s call the doctor on Thursday. Meanwhile, while sitting at her desk Thursday all of the sudden a spot on her ankle started hurting. She was sent home with bronchitis and either a blood clot or cellulitis. By Friday they were admitting her for IV antibiotics because the oral meds weren’t working.

5. Turned out to be cellulitis. Good news, the strong antibiotics have kicked the butt of the bronchitis. Still waiting to see the antibiotics work on the cellulitis.

6. Mr. T got a Fitbit.

7. I’m feeling extremely jealous.

8. I have been doing yoga every day for over 2 weeks now and it feels good! I know that in the past I have made it very clear that as much as I want to be a yoga person, it just wasn’t for me, but I’ve found a teacher that oh my goodness, I’ve found my love for yoga!

9. All I want to do is go buy 10 pairs of yoga pants!

10. I’ve also decided to aim for a minimalist lifestyle and declutter my life. Toss/Recycle/Donate approximately 500 things this month. 1 thing on day one. 2 things on day two, etc.

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11. I don’t think buying tons of yoga clothes fits with my minimalist goals.

12. But maybe selling some of the old stuff can finance the new!

13. I may have a second cinnamon roll 🙂

A Year Later

It has been over a year since I last talked to my brother and today marks the one year anniversary of his passing.  At times it is still surreal.  Just the other day Mr. T asked if I had seen the trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie, and I said no, and he goes “It’s totally different.  I hate that Uncle Lee won’t be able to go see the movie with us.”  Uncle Lee did love TMNT growing up, and we’ve all seen the earlier movies a hundred times because he loved them – and yes, I hate that he won’t be here to go see the movie with us, too.

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New look of TMNT

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TMNT Old School wondering “what have they done to us?”

 

Many of you were with me as I went through this journey, and you met Lee and learned about CRRT and how a mechanical heart works! While it really feels like it took a long time, it was 9 months from start to finish and one month from the time he started having real issues until his passing.

Several months ago I went through my Facebook feed and made a copy of all of my updates on Lee, I wanted to make sure I always had them, and today I am sharing them with you.

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April 6, 2013

Keep Lee in your thoughts and prayers. The meds he was put on to help his diabetes have made him sick, he’s switching to a new med, but still has to suffer thru the weekend while the old ones work out if his system. Please and thanks!

 

April 8, 2013

Lee is being admitted to the ICU for observation and monitoring. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. His blood pressure is very low and there are some other issues. Thanks!

 

April 9, 2013

I’m sitting on one side of Lee’s bed and mom is on the other. I’m checking emails and watching TV and for the last couple of minutes I just keep hearing mom giggle. Silence and then a giggle. Silence and then giggle, giggle. Not sure what she’s doing, but apparently that side of the bed is funnier!

 

April 9, 2013

(Mom’s post) I am asking everyone to put our son Lee in their prayers tonight. He is in ICU and is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. There is real concern about how his heart is going to handle the surgery. Please keep him in your prayers. He is being a trouper but his heart just isn’t helping him

 

April 10, 2013

Lee is out of surgery. He did good! He gets to go straight back to his room in the ICU and do his recovery there. Thanks to everyone for the prayers and the reaching out. Please continue to pray for his recovery.

 

April 11, 2013

Lee had a rough morning and his kidneys didn’t kick start like we wanted. So he had a port installed this afternoon so that dialysis could be administered. This will be a continuous bedside treatment to slowly clean his blood and remove the toxins. This should make it easier for his body to then work on its own. Thanks for the prayers and support. Let me know if you have any questions! And he had really appreciated the well wishes that have come his way!

Last picture of Lee and I together.

April 12, 2013

Lee is much more lucid today, which helps me out, I can tell what he’s saying, lol. The dialysis is working and his kidneys look good. His liver doesn’t look so good, tho, so we are calling in a new doctor for help. As always, thanks for the prayers and support!

 

April 12, 2013

We were told that Lee’s recovery would be up and down, and despite the setbacks, we do seem to be moving forward. Lee met some new doctors today. We’ve seen the GI doc, who is running some tests and had an ultrasound done on the liver, and we’ve seen the infectious disease doc who will just watch for a few days. Hopefully we can find out if something is wrong with his liver (it’s still congested) or if the issue is heart related. He slept a good portion of the day today, so I think his body is busy healing itself!

 

April 13, 2013

Small setback today, Lee has a fever, which is next to impossible when on dialysis, so they are working to find and kill the infection. They have also played, in essence, musical IV’s and removed the art and central lines and put in a picc line. He was surprised to learn today was Saturday, apparently he lost a few days during all of this!

 

April 14, 2013

Lee’s numbers look good today and his fever broke. Those are both big checks in the win column. We are very blessed that he has such a great group of doctors and nurses looking after him.

 

April 15, 2013

To my untrained eye, Lee seems better. His color has improved and his diet has been upgraded to full liquid so he gets things like cream soups and malt-o-meal. Of course, his numbers are still all over the place, not as stable as we want, but, he is moving forward. It is slow progress, but progress nevertheless. Please continue to send your prayers for Lee, and for his doctors and nurses and us! It’s been a full week in the ICU and there isn’t an end in sight just yet.

 

April 16, 2013

Lee had a rough day, but he was weaned off of one specific med, and this allowed us to stop dialysis. Tomorrow we should have new lab numbers to review, and the CRRT (dialysis) machine won’t be far away, but we are really hoping that his body is taking over and he won’t need more than a few hours a day, if at all. He is so ready to get better and be out of the hospital!

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April 17, 2013

Day 10 in the ICU and we are still showing progress, but it’s hard. Lee is struggling with pain and aches and today he went down for a traditional hemodialysis treatment. Please just keep him in your prayers.

 

April 18, 2013

Today Lee had a CT done for pictures of his internal organs and tomorrow he will have a Swan-Ganz right heart catheterization. (They will inset a small tube into the right side of the heart and arteries leading to the lungs to measure function and blood flow.) This will help get a full picture of what is going on inside his body and his doctors work on his treatment. Prayers please!

 

April 19, 2013

Lee is being transported to one if the UNTSW hospitals, not sure which, probably St. Paul. This will provide more specialize care. Sadly, I don’t think he’s well enough to really appreciate the helicopter ride, but the Care Flight staff will take good care of him.

 

April 22, 2013

Lee’s kidneys are doing better today, that’s a blessing and tomorrow they are going to attempt the right heart cath again. Hopefully they can do it this time. Everyone is ready to know the results of that!

 

April 23, 2013

I’m taking Mr. T to Diva Dinner tonight. Against his will. Good times ahead! On another note, on paper Lee is doing better, his kidneys and liver are responding. Sadly, he’s had a rough night and an even rougher day, he’s just out of sorts and very uncomfortable. He does have a small infection that they are fighting, but otherwise, looking good. On an even better note, more depts. have signed off on his transplant, so we might be able to get his case in front of the board for review and approval this week! The LVAD is also in serious discussion.  Prayers!!

 

April 24, 2013

Lee ended up being sedated and put on a ventilator yesterday evening and then had a contrast CT done. Found nothing on the CT that required surgery & he made it through the night! Prayers do work! He has developed a higher fever, so he is currently packed in ice and they are keeping him sedated while he is on the ventilator. Please keep sending prayers for him, his doctors and staff and family. Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks!

 

April 24, 2013

Lee’s fever broke! Yay! The ice blanket has been off for hours and he is running normal. The docs plan to do the right heart cath, no matter what, tomorrow (fingers crossed!).

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April 25, 2013

On another note, Lee’s fever came back, but has stabilized. The docs have decided not to do the right heart cath and just proceed forward with the surgery for the LVAD. Lee’s condition is hour by hour, but if he stays stable, they will do this tomorrow. Blessing!!! Also, today, his file is going before the transplant selection committee at St. Pauls. Please pray that he gets approved for his heart transplant!

 

April 25, 2013

Please pray for Lee’s surgery. Tomorrow he will have the LVAD installed on his heart. This is a very high risk operation but there is a surgeon willing to take it on and we are hopeful. He’ll have a rough couple of days afterwards, but this should help him while we wait on transplant options.

 

April 26, 2013

Please keep praying for Lee. We just got a report that the surgery is going well. He is still open on the table, but the device is installed. They are doing dialysis to cleanse his blood of the toxins and meds. Should only be a few more hours. Thanks!

 

April 26, 2013

Please keep up the prayers. The right side of his heart didn’t hold up when they put the device on the left side so they have had to go ahead and put an assistance device on the right side, too. They are still running dialysis to help clear his blood, and it should be a few more hours. Thanks guys!

 

April 26, 2013

Surgery is over. They will be watching him for bleeding and stabilizing vitals. They may go back in as early as Sunday and try to take off the right side assist device. He survived the surgery! Another victory!

 

April 27, 2013

Please be praying for Lee who is back in surgery this morning due to his assistance devices. Thanks

 

April 27, 2013

Lee just got out of surgery. Had to replace the LVAD unit. Took off the RVAD but added an Ecmo to oxygenate his lungs. They are filling up. The Ecmo will basically bypass his lungs to give them time to heal. I haven’t researched that item yet! Please keep praying!

 

April 27, 2013

Well, Lee no sooner got done with surgery earlier and they took him right back in. The oxygeninator (I made that word up) that was working his lungs wasn’t balanced with his LVAD. Considering they haven’t ever done this combination of equipment before, they are paying real close attention and pulling out all the stops. Please keep him in your prayers.

 

April 28, 2013

Lee was bleeding a lot last night, so they had to open his chest again to pack it and try to stop the bleeding. They will leave it open so they can go in and repack as needed. Please say a little prayer as you read this!

 

April 28, 2013

Sunday was a day of rest for Lee and he had a pretty peaceful day. His chest is still open and packed and probably will be while he is on the Ecmo, but that has allowed his lungs to begin to heal! Thanks to everyone for their prayers!

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April 30, 2013

This morning Lee is back in the OR and they are removing all of the packing, cleaning out his chest and doing an antibiotic “Paint” job inside before they finally sew his chest up. It’s been open for a couple of days now, so this is really good news that they can close him up! The LVAD is working well and they are keeping him on the ECMO a bit longer. Please pray for a successful closure this morning. Thanks!

 

April 30, 2013

Lee made it out of surgery this morning, but he’s been rushed back to the OR due to bleeding. Please continue to keep him in your prayers!

 

April 30, 2013

Lee had a busy day. Had surgery to close his chest, was rushed back in when he “sprung a leak”. It appears that closing the chest put more pressure on the organs and machines than expected, as once they opened him back up, everything was normal. So, now his chest is open (a bit more than before) and he is packed up again. They went ahead and installed a defibrillator on his right side, just in case, but as of now, only his left side is getting assistance. Also, prayers have been answered because he is off the Ecmo and back on the ventilator. Please keep the prayers coming! It is still a very touch and go situation.

 

May 1, 2013

In the wee hours of the morning Lee was back in the OR having the ECMO put back on, the right side if his heart just wasn’t keeping up. It was a success and he is back in his room, chest open and packed up. The doctor is thinking of waking him up later today. Please keep praying for him and that his heart will hold on.

 

May 1, 2013

The doctors have taken Lee off all of the anesthesia and we are waiting for him to wake up. He needs to wake up and be able to follow some basic commands and then the doctors can go before the transplant selection committee tomorrow with a good report. Please keep in mind his chest is still open and packed and he is back on the Ecmo, and he has just been through so very much. Today’s prayer is for him to wake up! Thanks!

 

May 2, 2013

Please keep Lee in your prayers as we are still waiting for him to wake up properly. They are calling in a neuro consult and will possibly do bedside CT tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions and thanks!

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May 3, 2013

Today’s prayer is for Lee’s liver to function properly. They think the liver is causing some of his sedation issues. So, we’d love for his liver to start working better so we can see if he will wake up properly. Today he will have another procedure and they will remove the packing in his chest, give him an antibiotic paint job and then repack his chest. We appreciate all of the prayers.

 

May 4, 2013

Just got done seeing Lee. We still need lots of prayers for his liver! He is also back on CRRT, but that’s okay, his kidneys will bounce back. Come on liver! Work! Please and thanks!

 

May 5, 2013

Please keep praying for Lee’s liver! I talked to the nurses and they said we can post Get Well cards for Lee in his room. If you need an address please message or text me. I think he would enjoy hearing us read them to him!

 

May 6, 2013

This morning Lee has some GI bleeding issues that they are working on, and he is going to have a CT scan done soon. Please pray for the healing of his body. Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll update you when I have more info! Just keep sending up the prayers!

 

May 7, 2013

Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. Today we released Lee from life support and he had a very peaceful transition to Heaven. My family and I are so grateful to all of you who have said prayers, thank you very much from all of us from the bottom of our hearts.

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Around the Table

cranberry sauce

When you have a turkey dinner while you are in the hospital, here is the cranberry sauce that you get.  I just thought it was the cutest little thing!

This year, I’m very thankful that we won’t know that is the type of cranberry sauce you get in the hospital.  As much as I miss my brother this Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for all of the time I did have with him and I know that he is out of pain and looking down on us today.

Very soon we will be gathered around the table and everyone will state what we are thankful for.  Every year this tradition always makes me a little teary eyed so I try and plan my statement in advance.  I had no clue what I was going to say, what could I say that wouldn’t bring myself to tears? 

So, naturally, I asked a friend.  She suggested, and I’m pretty sure I’m going with it:

I’m thankful for the time that we got to spend with Lee.  And Lee, if you’re here with us listening, I’m still going to plant a tree and your honor – and I’m so going to decorate you!

It’s a joke that Lee was okay with his ashes being spread around a new tree as a memorial, but he really didn’t want to be decorated every Christmas!  He’d just laugh at me and go “yeah, no!”  every time I brought it up!

So, this year, I’m thankful for all of you  out there in the blogosphere who have been with me as I journey along, I’m thankful for my friends who have held me up when I couldn’t stand, and I am very thankful for my family and the time we’ve had together!  I’m also thankful for the eye candy that Dean Winchester supplies, Starbucks coupons and decorated sugar cookies!

Wishing all of you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving and for my Jewish friends – Happy Hanukkah!

Happy thanksgiving

Text Message From my Dead Brother

I know, I know, it sounds morbid.  Just stick with me for a minute.

One thing you should know about me is that I tend to save some text messages.  Some are funny, some are touching, some are for reference and some are just sentimental.  Just like at home where I tend to toss or donate a lot, I try not to be an electronic hoarder (hello, that’s why I have Pinterest!), so I will go through every couple of days and clean out my messages.

Last night Mr. T was sitting next to me doing his homework and since I didn’t want the TV on distracting him, I’d been playing on my phone, which can easily keep me busy for an hour or more! I checked Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Word Press.  All caught up on my social media I moved on to my text messages and began going through and deleting recent messages that I didn’t feel the need to keep.  I was making great progress and then I hit the bottom of my page.

A text message from Lee.

Let me tell you about this text message.  We had let go of Lee earlier in the day and we were all there as he transitioned peacefully to Heaven.  After we got home from the hospital there was so much to deal with – as a reminder, the back bedrooms had flooded a few days before and I was making arrangements for the floor to be checked and the massive fans and dehumidifiers to be picked up, and then the task of moving all of the furniture and items back into the bedrooms and closets.  I was also contacting mom and dad’s cleaning lady and their yard guy to come by and help get things in order in anticipation of guests coming by to offer condolences and then the family arriving before and after the service.

By the time I got home that evening I was mentally and physically exhausted and I had no sooner crawled into bed when my phone went off signaling a text message.  I picked up my phone and it was a blank message from my recently deceased brother!!

Look – see that empty bubble?  What would you think if you got a BLANK MESSAGE?!?  Naturally, after I ruled out electrical phenomenon associated with spirits trying to communicate with me, I figured my parents had his phone.

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Like I would be able to sleep after getting this!

You can see what I replied! Shortly after my reply back to them, here is what came through:

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Okay, that’s better!

You can see that there were texting me a picture to email my sister who was putting together the tribute video for the service, and pictures take longer to transmit, so it came through after the blank message did.  It wasn’t my brothers spirit trying to connect with me, and well, I’m not sure if I’m relieved or disappointed!

The next day I was telling dad about my reaction and he goes “I told your mom it would freak you out.”  I had to whip out my phone and show him how it came across and the blank message that was the first to hit.  Again, how am I supposed to NOT freak out over that? We all got a good laugh out of it!  I told them I sat there and stared at my phone for several seconds while my brain tried to process it all before reality set in and I realized what was happening… And then getting the rest of the message made more sense!

So, needless to say, I still have the text message from my dead brother and I think I’ll hoard that one just a little bit longer!

Tomorrow is the Heart Walk and our family will walk united in memory of Lee.  And while I’d love a sign from him, I’m just as happy if it doesn’t come in the form of a text message!

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Kate’s Heart Walk Donation Page

The Award Goes to Anyone but Me

I’ve said it before, and many of you probably think I’m exaggerating, but when they are giving out the Mother of the Year Award and they announce: “And the winner is…” my name will not be heard.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good mom, I’m a great mom!  We have fun together, and he fully believes that with the skills he has learned, he’ll be able to take care of himself when he is on his own.  One of my favorite memories is when he was younger, probably about 6 or so, and he was at a friend’s house and his friend was supposed to be cleaning his room, and resisting. Travis told him “you have to learn how to clean your room or when you get older girls and friends won’t want to come over to your place because it is messy.”

It doesn’t get much better than that!

I have my faults, too.  Lots of them! Today let’s focus on just one of them.  Let’s discuss the fact that apparently I’ve become blasé about injuries. I think it is because we’ve had so many of them. Ever since he was little we’ve been members of the frequent flyer club at our local ER.

Can I have one of these for my local ER? Just put "hospital" in place of "coffee"

Can I have one of these for my local ER? Just put “hospital” in place of “coffee”

Let me give you a few examples:  Eating glass, febrile seizure, broken radius and ulna that required surgery to repair cause he was showing off for a girl, getting hit by a car, and breaking his pinky finger while tossing the football around with a friend.

Don’t call CPS.  They were all legitimate!!

The point is, if you had dealt with all of those injuries, plus trips that turned out to be minor issues, you’d be wary of issues.  Pretty much any time anything happens, the rule is we wait.  Wait and see if it’s really broken/ruptured/needs medical attention.  This waiting period usually is accompanied by an ice pack.

So, back to my point! Monday I was in the kitchen and T was walking back to his room and all I heard was crash/aaggghhh/thud.  I was racking my brain trying to figure out what he could have tripped over/stubbed his toe on.  I came out and started giggling as Mr. T was on the floor writhing in pain (not the most sensitive reaction, I know!)  I was trying to figure out what he had tripped over – he hadn’t.  He was just walking and his ankle popped (the crash I thought was him stubbing his toe) and he shrieked in pain (the aaggghhh I heard) and fell to the ground (accounting for the thud part of the equation).

I sat with him for a bit, checked out the foot – it didn’t seem broken – and sent him on his merry way.  Told him we’d monitor it.  It gave him some pain to walk on, but still seemed minor. And really, if your foot pops so loudly I can hear it two rooms away, I expect it to hurt!

That night we went over to my parents for dinner since my sister and her kids were in town and my sis mentioned that it was a little swollen.  I walked by, felt his foot and it was a tad swollen, but not warm, so I kept on walking.

Yesterday afternoon I was cutting Mr. T’s hair and saw his foot… swelled to the size of a grapefruit.

It's hard to see, but there is some bruising to go with the swelling.

It’s hard to see, but there is some bruising to go with the swelling.

Yeah, I totally missed that.  He had sprained his ankle.  I immediately wrapped it and put an ice pack on it.  After 30 minutes the ice came off and he got a break – and then my dad reminded me that it had been over 24 hours, so it was time to apply the heat.  So, we went on the search for the heating pad and T sat with it elevated and with heat on and off the rest of the night.

Not all was lost, it was a dark and stormy night and we were watching an episode of Supernatural that happened to be in black and white and about old school Dracula and the Wolfman, so I popped us some fresh popcorn and we sat together and chilled.

T and I watching TV and chilling together - I'm getting good at wrapping hands and feet.

T and I watching TV and chilling together – I’m getting good at wrapping hands and feet.

Yes that happened; I totally missed the fact that my son really did tear one or more of the ligaments in his foot.

Shorty sitting next to me, really hoping I'll share my popcorn with him.

Shorty sitting next to me, really hoping I’ll share my popcorn with him.

Welcome to Isabella Kathleen

So, on Friday, I talked to a couple of people, and told them, either I’m forgetting something important – or I actually have a free Saturday.  I finally decided that I had a free Saturday and that if I had forgotten something, they’d have to just forgive me.

I proceeded to make plans with my friend Karaboo.  I mentioned to her that since I had a free Saturday, my sister was going to have her baby.

Sure enough, I got the call at 2 am Saturday from my nephew “uh, Aunt Kate, mom’s water broke so we are going to the hospital.”  Does she want me there now or closer to time? “Up to you”.

I went back to bed.  Of course, I failed to set an alarm, but ended up waking up about 6:30 and jumping up and showering – didn’t have time to do my hair so I left it natural.  Threw on some makeup while downing a cup of coffee and was out the door by 7:30.  It’s an hour drive, and mom told me at 7:30 “she’s at 4 centimeters.”

I hit the gas.  My sister tends to deliver within 20-30 minutes after she hits four centimeters.  Sure enough, 30 minutes later Isabella Kathleen arrived!  Since it is an hour drive, I missed it.  I’m not upset about this – I was there for her last birthing and oh-emm-gee, you can’t un-see something like that.

Isabella came out just as fast as the last – and that was too fast.  Apparently there is a whole symbiotic thing that is suppose to happen as the baby is exiting the birth canal, and because my sister pops them out so fast, it didn’t happen with Isabella, and the result is that she got a big gulp of fluid before she came out, so her lungs are a little wet – and her entire head is bruised.  I mean bruised… like purple… and enough that every single medical professional commented on it “Wow, we almost never see this!”.

Beyond that, baby Bella is just awesome!  She’s eating like a champ (again, the nurse said “wow, normally babies only a day old don’t eat this much!”).  And the fact that she’s eating means that she has become a pooping machine! She’s also already lifting her head up (again, she shouldn’t be doing this – but she is!).

Now, because I’m a really proud aunt – please enjoy!

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About an hour after birth, getting our measurements taken.

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All bundled up getting ready to move to a new room.

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A few hours later with her favorite Aunt Kate. Here you can really see how purple her face is!

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2 days old sitting with Aunt Kate again! My sister is apparently an expert negotiator and came home from the hospital a day early, so we are at her house for this picture.

Since Amy convinced everyone to release them both a day early, my mom stayed in Dallas yesterday with them and this morning took Bella to see her doctor.  Just a bit of jaundice, which is fairly normal, and now they are all back in FW at mom and dad’s place.  Amy and the kids will stay there a few weeks.  (Amy has the 13 year old twins, Jayman and Samantha, and 2-1/2 year old Joshua, and then now baby Bella.)

Which means I get plenty of time with baby Bella!

As a side note – her middle name Kathleen – is a combination of my first and middle name, so technically, she’s named after me! 🙂

Then he kissed the back of my hand…

My parents always knew that they wanted to have 2 kids and to adopt.  So, after me and my sister, they began looking to adopt.  They wanted to adopt a special needs kid, provide a home to a child that might be overlooked.  They were aware of their own limitations and knew that they wanted a child with a physical handicap.  We took sign language classes together for a while when we thought we were getting a deaf sibling.  That fell through and in the end, we found out about Lee.  Lee had a little red triangle that appeared on his forehead above his nose when he cried and got upset.  The Koreans considered that a handicap.  It was meant to be!

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Lee at Universal Studios, he’s so strong, he is lifting up the A-Team Van with one hand!

His Korean name is Man Ho Ha and we picked him up from Dallas airport when he was 6 months old.  He was ours from the time he was a month old, but we couldn’t get him until he was 6 months old.  It was amazing.  A Korean woman had traveled with him and several other babies and dropped them off at other stops, and Lee and one other child, a little girl, were her last stop.  We passed him around our arms while at the airport and just couldn’t keep our eyes or hands off of him.  It was a memory that will always stay with me.

He was named Jayman Lee.  Jayman is spelled slightly different from normal so that we could incorporate his Korean name in there – and Lee is a family name.  We just called him Lee.

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Through the years, as a good older sister does, I tormented him! I curled his hair and my other sister dressed him up.  Good Times!  Since there is 10 years difference between he and I, we were pretty close.  When he got older, I always took him school supply shopping.  We had season passes to Six Flags for many years.  Apparently, when he and I were younger, I thought I was also his mom.  He would bring home papers from school that were subpar and needed a parents signature, in order to keep him out of trouble I would sign his papers.  Then mom and dad would never know that he didn’t do well.  Yeah, uh, they found out anyway.

It was 10 months ago that he was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy.  You have followed my journey with him here on my blog.  After the initial diagnosis, he did good.  We had a few set backs, but overall, he was doing really well managing the condition.  We did have a few scares along the way, but he always pulled through.  In fact, our aunt commented at a family function “you don’t look sick.”  Yeah, she’s that aunt.

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Lee’s Senior Picture

A little over a month ago he started not feeling very well.  His meds were adjusted, but he knows is body, and he knew when it was time to go to the ER.

He never left the hospital again.

This kid was amazing.  He took everything that was thrown at him.  We didn’t think he would survive the gallbladder surgery, but he did.  Then he was transferred to UT Southwestern, which is one of the best hospitals for cardiovascular issues.  He seemed to be getting better, but then stopped.  I can’t tell you how many times we were told “he may not make it through the night” but he did.  When he went in for his LVAD surgery, again, we knew he might not survive, but against the odds, he did.  I’m so very proud of my brother for all that he went through and how well he handled it.

There was a Tuesday that I went to visit him in Dallas.  He took my hand and held it.  He told me how much he loved me and how glad he was that I was his sister.  He said that he knows how much crap I put up from him over the years and he was so glad that I was always there to support him.  He also mentioned how thankful he was that I could spend so much time with him in the hospital.  He acknowledged that it couldn’t have been easy for me, but that he wanted me to know how much he appreciated it, and me, and how very much he loved me.

Then he kissed the back of my hand and sat there holding my hand.

That’s the last conversation I had with my brother.

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Lee with our nephew

That night he had to be put on the ventilator.  A week later he coded and slipped into a coma.  This Monday, he had a CT scan and we were told that there was swelling in the brain due to damage and that the doctors would not be able to fix that.

It was time.

This Tuesday we gathered by his bedside.  Mom, dad, my sister, my grandmother and I.  We held his hand, kissed his head and said our goodbyes.  When we were ready, we called in the doctors and nurses and they turned off his machines and left us in peace.  We stood by and talked to him, held his hand and we cried as he passed away.

Lee transitioned peacefully to Heaven surrounded by love.  We let him know how much of a blessing he was to us, and that we were letting him go.  He didn’t take long to pass, and we all knew when it happened, you could see the peaceful expression, it was so nice that after such a trying journey, he had found peace.

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Last picture of me and Lee, at the hospital

Today we have been busy making the arrangements.  Lee will be cremated and we will have a memorial service this Saturday morning.  I’ve been in contact with family and friends and have been absolutely amazed at the outpouring of love and support I have received.

Lee was well loved, and for a pain in the butt brother, he was pretty darn awesome.

Thank you all for being part of my journey with Lee.