Prayerful Thursday Rundown

Happy Thursday, friends. Thanks for your continued readership of Don’t Blink. Without any unnecessary delay, let’s jump into this week’s Rundown…

Praying For… – I always say that students who attend St. Mary School come home with some of the best crafts. Recently, Sloan made a figure that resembled her and attached a heart that contained the names of people (and…umm…things) that she is praying for. Her list included Jesus, Sid, myself, and…Muffin? Yep, that would be my parents’ cat. Sloan loves felines, especially the one belonging to her grandma and papa and felt the need to pray for it.

Sloan brought this home from school the other day.

We Remember – Speaking of people we pray for, a man named Dr. Robert Cina is always in our nightly prayers. He was the surgeon who performed corrective Pyloric Stenosis surgery on Sloan four years ago today. For those who don’t know, Pyloric Stenosis is a very rare condition in infants in which food is blocked from entering the small intestine, causing constant projectile vomiting and dangerous dehydration. Sid and I didn’t talk to anyone about the experience for a year after it happened but these days we are much more open about it. We promote Pyloric Stenosis awareness and try to support those parents and babies going through what we did. To commemorate the four year anniversary, I made this TikTok video.

During Sloan’s bout with Pyloric Stenosis and for over a year afterwards, we kept it between immediate family. Sidney and I are so thankful for the support of our parents. This photo shows our moms and dads with Sloan at MUSC.

Riverfront Park – We took advantage of the absolute gorgeous day last Saturday and met Miranda and her kids at Riverfront Park for a day of fun. We broke in the newly opened playground, admired the Spokane Falls, rode the carousel, and fed the garbage goat. Sloan and Beau absolutely loved it…and the adults did too.

It was a pefect day at Riverfront Park last Saturday.

Eating Outside – Spokane is pretty much the “Eating Outside Capital of the United States.” Pleasant temperatures and low humidity make it a great place eat dinner outside during the late spring/summer/early fall months. In fact, taking it outside for breakfast works too. This past weekend we were able to enjoy brunch and dinner out on our back deck as we ate waffles in the morning and then tried out our new grill in the evening. With a view like we have, there is plenty of incentive to eating outdoors.

It was nice to get an early start on “eating outside” season this past weekend. We ate waffles for brunch on Sunday.

National Jelly Bean Day – There is a day for everything, right? Today is National Jelly Bean Day and just like there is a day for everything, there is seemingly a Don’t Blink blog post for everything too. Back in 2017, I ranked my top 5 favorite Jelly Belly flavors. I won’t reveal my entire list in tonight’s post (you have to go here to read it) but buttered popcorn and Dr. Pepper are both on the list. If the subject of jelly beans seems redundant to you, I did write about sweeTARTS jelly beans just a couple weeks ago.

I wrote about my favorite Jelly Belly flavors four years ago.

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It is going to be tough to top last weekend but we will try. Have a great evening and we will catch up next week. Don’t Blink.

Our Fierce Fighter

From time to time in Don’t Blink, I will refer to Sloan as “brave” or “strong.” Although I do my fair share of proud dad gloating, those characteristics I just mentioned are rooted in indisputable fact. Last night, my wife gave public legitimacy to the courage of our daughter.

Last night, Sid wrote this Facebook post.

In my wife’s social media post, she eloquently described the feelings of helplessness and despair that consume a parent when caring for a critically sick child. She expressed it better than I could, making it silly for me to even attempt to do the same in this blog.

However, based on the discussion I had with Sid after she published her Facebook post, I feel like I can offer a brief epilogue to her beautiful words.

Sidney and I kept quiet during and after Sloan’s Pyloric Stenosis battle. We didn’t want to scare relatives and friends. We didn’t want to solicit a storm of social media sympathy. We didn’t want to relive and answer questions about a traumatic experience.

During Sloan’s bout with Pyloric Stenosis and for over a year afterwards, we kept it between immediate family. Sidney and I are so thankful for the support of our parents. This photo shows our moms and dads with Sloan at MUSC.

They say time heals everything. Although I might not go as far as to say everything, I do agree that it heals most. A year after Sloan’s surgery, we have come to grips with what happened. At this point, we are more amazed at the talent of the surgeons who made her better than distraught over the unlucky condition she was dealt.

Sidney felt it was time to say something. After I read what she wrote, she asked me what I thought about it. I told her she did a great job. She explained that her main purpose in letting others know about Sloan’s sickness was to shed light on Pyloric Stenosis and reach out to parents who might have a child with the same condition.

Sid and Sloan resting the night before we left for MUSC Charleston.

Here is where I come in…

Pyloric Stenosis is a rare condition in infants that blocks food from entering the small intestine. In fact, the condition is so rare that under 200,000 infants are diagnosed with it each year. Food can’t enter the small intestine because muscles thicken and become abnormally large. Because food is denied entrance to the small intestine, the body does the only thing it can…it sends the food back up. Sloan would vomit violently, discharging the formula (or any other liquid) we had given her shortly before. It doesn’t take a doctor to conclude that it is a bad sign when the body can’t digest food.

Luckily, the condition is treatable. Skilled doctors can cut away at the thickened muscles and create a pathway for the food to enter. In Sloan’s case, she was initially misdiagnosed, with doctors originally telling us she didn’t have Pyloric Stenosis. This of course added misery to our experience (especially Sloan’s) but once medical professionals were able to see the blockage, we took Sloan to MUSC in Charleston for surgery. More on this in just a minute.

Sid feeding Sloan her first bottle after surgery.

What Sid and I want to do is to let parents who have a child with Pyloric Stenosis know that things will be okay. Once your baby undergoes surgery, which we understand is very scary in and of itself, he/she will go from throwing up at all hours of the day/night to returning to a happy baby who digests food normally.

Watching your baby constantly throw up is awful. Seeing your baby dehydrated and hungry is painful. Observing your baby hooked up to an I.V. is disheartening. Sending your baby off to surgery is downright frightening. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

When we were going through this, our little family was blessed to have a couple who went through what we did. The husband offered me assurance and the wife offered Sidney assurance. Before Sidney rode in the ambulance with Sloan to Charleston, the wife gave Sid a pep talk, letting her know that relief would soon be in hand. It was comforting and it meant the world.

My mom holding Sloan in the MUSC hospital room.

It is our turn to take the role of the special couple that helped us. To anyone who reads this post today or years down the road who has a baby with Pyloric Stenosis or knows someone with a baby who has the condition: Please reach out. It doesn’t matter if you read my blog regularly or if you stumbled upon this post via a Google search…we would love to help you and pray for you.

This is Sloan being wheeled out of MUSC on a wagon after receiving a clean bill of health.

The person who has forever entered our prayer life on a nightly basis is Dr. Robert Cina of MUSC. We thank God constantly for his talent and skilled hands. He is the head surgeon who performed the successful surgery on Sloan, healing her completely. We are also eternally grateful to the entire MUSC pediatric staff for their care and compassion. Of course we will never be able to thank our parents enough for being with us every step of the way. Although the worst of Sloan’s Pyloric Stenosis episode only lasted for about a week, we certainly needed our support system.

Sloan is a healthy little girl who brings us so much joy.

Sidney planted the seed last night for us to give back. Hopefully, we will have many opportunities to do so. Don’t Blink.