Friday, September 24, 2010

One Year Later...

So today has been on my mind a lot. It's not really an anniversary or a celebration but to realize it's been a year. A year from hell I might add. A year of pain, heartache, fear, trials, challenges as well as triumphs, successes and love. It's is crazy to reflect the changes from last year to this year. Some things are the same but others are so different. I can't believe the change physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually we have all gone through.
I don't necessarily like to recall the activities of that day and thanks to my Life Coach Nadeen Rawlings I am not physically reliving it every time I look at Karsen's leg. Through the worst reliving all I could think about was what if I would've gone further he wouldn't be here and then I'd really not know where I'd be right now. That painful thought doesn't come around as often. I do still wish it would've been the dog (not that I don't care for my dogs but if I had to chose well you get it right?)
When I recap and even reread through the blog I have concluded that Karsen has been put under for some sort of surgery now almost 20 times. He endured 10-12 of them in the hospital the 1st 2 weeks. He's kind of a pro now. He no longer freaks out and always wants a popsicle when he wakes up. One of the little things I love is that the nurses worry he won't wake up but the minute he hears my voice he does. He's also had to learn to walk 3 times and soon it will be 4 after his femur heals. I loved when he learned to walk as a baby but the real joy was seeing him walk to Rick last November and again in New York. The joy and emotions are overwhelming. To see him "normal" again.
I try my hardest to stay positive and not dwell on the negative selfish thoughts but the truth of the matter is they are there. I have learned again thanks to Nadeen that my coping method is something we develop as children and mine is to keep it all to myself put on a strong face and just keep moving. I realized that at some of the hardest times I couldn't handle being in the same room with Karsen for fear of losing it but I had to be within hearing distance if he needed me. I have cried many nights wishing my baby wasn't ruined. That he was whole again. I admit I became selfish focusing on taking care of his needs but also my own. Finding escapes that were unnecessary even if it was running to the store with no kids. Sometimes I get angry and wonder why the hell this had to happen. I do believe things happen for a reason and I've asked many times what am I supposed to learn from all of this and when I think I know we are hit with another "life lesson".
My heart aches when I see him struggle. We have let him figure things out and tried not to cater too much so that he will learn. He tries after cruising up and down the stairs to get me to carry him this one last time because he "can't put pressure on his leg" or so he says. It is hard to see him refuse to wear his leg and just want to sit there while everyone plays around him. I struggle a lot with the future, with rejection, ridicule and inability. Simple thoughts of going swimming in a public place and the gawking eyes. I have asked all the weird questions like what if he wants to play a sport and can't or what if the girls don't like him or are repulsed by him. It's such a stupid mind game I hate it.
The good news is is that each day he teaches and inspires me. Some days it is pure patience he teaches me (especially now that he is 100% dependent on me). One day in particular we were sitting in our large front room. I was reading something and Karsen and Jaxon were playing. Karsen had a little where's waldo timer from some fast food joint. Jaxon was running in circles and I challenged him to see how many times he could run through the kitchen, living room and back to where we were before the timer was up. Karsen said "yeah let's race". As I sat and watched I learned an incredible lesson. Karsen didn't have his leg on so he wanted to race on his knees not even crawling. I said ok "Ready, Set, GO!" they both took off and as they reached the doorway to the kitchen (maybe 4 ft from where they started) Karsen stopped as Jaxon hurried around and kept going. Karsen sat there with a scowl on his face. That nurturing part of me as a mother wanted to pick him up and tell him it was ok and give him loves while he was upset but the other part of me decided to stop and observe. As I sat there I watched that scowl and sad look of disappointment do something I've never seen anyone do. Most humans would instantly cry or whine that they aren't good enough or that they "suck". Well Karsen has every right to be angry and frustrated but within 60 seconds he did the exact opposite. He sat there for a few and then looked over at me and saw the timer on the floor and said "Jaxon do it again and I will time you" He crawled over picked up the timer and with the best attitude said "ok ready, set, go". WOW is all I could think. I have never seen a 3 year old do something like that. To change his attitude and find a way to enjoy the fun. It seriously made me wish I was more capable of doing that.
The other day Rick was talking to Karsen and the topic of the accident came up. If you ask Karsen what happened he will still tell you that mommy ran him over with the lawn mower (so much for him forgetting). Rick asked him what he was doing Karsen replied I was following mommy, Rick then asked why (when he knew he wasn't supposed to) he replied I don't know. Rick said why didn't you get out of there Karsen then told him I fell over and then mommy backed up. This thought is heart wrenching to me. To think of how helpless he felt and the fear as well as the pain. It's thoughts and moments like this that tear me down. That hurt the most to think about and again make me question WHY??
When Karsen received his Spica Cast he really didn't want anyone to write on it but one day I thought I'm going to write on the bar. I know we will at least keep that part so I wrote on it "Mommy Loves You" so every time he looks down he will be reminded. A couple days later we were going through each letter and he knows what it says and he told me I want you to put "I love mommy" after it. Being the emotional freak I have been lately just held him so grateful that he does. It sounds so silly but every time he says it my heartache goes away more and more. Every time any of my kids wrap their arms around me and tell me they love me it fills me up more then anything.
Karsen has already touched so many lives in the person that he is and the way he has fought through this. I know that Heavenly Father gave him to us for many reasons. I know that Karsen lived to make a difference. His spirit is that of an incredible one. He keeps our family focused and find gratitude in the little things. I can't tell you how grateful I am that he as a whole person has not been altered. He is still the fun, happy, joking kid he was before he just has a limb missing. Jazmine, Kyliane and Jaxon never cease to amaze me as well. They don't treat him as if he's an alien and they are so thoughtful. After Karsen had his cast put on Jaxon spent the whole morning sitting next to him watching movies, getting toys and even making him giggle.
The have all excelled in school being top readers, great at math and leaders in their classrooms. Jaxon is amazing at Karate. We have tried to keep their lives steady and have things for them since a lot of time and energy goes into Karsen's care.
It is hard to be down and boy have we been down but there are so many things that are positive to focus on. I can't say that I am the best at this but some days I tell myself we are better then this we can overcome this. This has been the hardest year for my life, my existence, our marriage, our finances, everything. But our conclusion is simple...At least we still have each other. We would give up all of our possessions if that meant keeping our family. I am so grateful that Rick still loves me. I know sounds weird but I've heard comments of husbands not sure they could forgive their wife or just simply they'd be so angry. He is my rock that holds me together when I am falling apart. Even though sometimes I hate when I am down and he tells me "it's all good we are gonna get through this" It makes me want to punch him in the face. But I realize what we have made it through this year and to be where we are now as a couple and a family I am positive things will work out fantastic!! (not sure it could get worse) We are fighters!! We are ROCKSTARS!! lol

Thanks again to EVERYONE that has helped us this last year. Through love, prayers, thoughts, friendships, donations, food, hugs, notes and positive vibes. It is you that has helped us to stay strong as well. It takes a village to raise a child so thank you all for helping me raise all 4 of mine to be the best most beautiful children they can be. I wish we knew how to show our gratitude more the everyone. Please know that we love you all and have the utmost respect for your love for us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Karsen Happens!!

As we come up to Karsen's 4th birthday and 1 year from this horrific accident. We have planned birthday parties and events to celebrate the progress that Karsen has made. Unfortunately we have another 6 week set back.
I took Karsen with some friends to the park and he was playing on a seat that spins.
He sat down on it on our way out. I went to grab my water bottle across the way and heard a child scream "someone stop me, stop me, stop me!!" realizing it was Karsen I ran over as fast as I could to stop him. I was about 5 ft away when he pushed himself off. (Sure wish the two moms standing near him would've helped me out). After getting to him and seeing his leg in a weird position I thought it was just his prosthesis well I was wrong. The lady (standing near him) covered her mouth saying oh my gosh his leg. I assured her it was probably his prosthetic. I rushed over to my friends van taking off his leg while running and him screaming...that heartbreaking cry I heard almost a year ago. I knew something was so wrong. I got his leg off and then laid him down near the car to pull his pants off to get his liner off. When I pulled his pants off I saw his thigh swollen and thought to myself "Please no don't be broken". Unfortunately it was. We put him in the car and rushed to Riverton IHC where they took xray's and said his left Femur was broken. They then transported us via Ambulance to Primaries. Once we arrived there I told them to call Marci his Othopedic Surgeon to at least let her know. She called me while I was there and told me if I could get to Shriner's she could get me in right away if we wait at Primaries it would be 10pm. So my Brother's (who were there waiting for us when we arrived at Primaries LOVE THEM) found us a ride to Shriners. We finally got to Marci. Karsen was comfortable after 4 mg of Morphine and a splint. He wanted to go home and didn't like the description of the Spica Cast he overheard us discussing. I was and still am heartbroken. Our life yet again is altered. We were finally using his leg for everything. He had started preschool and now we are back to square one only to look forward to him learning to walk again.

His cast starts at his chest and goes to his calf on his right side and covers his whole amputated leg. He has an opening to go to the restroom (we've been using a bottle lol). This was the first time any of the doctors working on him had ever done a spica cast on an amputated leg. We now have to worry about his leg shrinking too much and growing improperly. We can make up for it if it does a little with a prosthesis but won't know till we get there.
This poor guy has been through hell. It took him about 24 hours to realize he is completely immobilized and has to depend on Rick and I fully for anything. It's going to be a rough 6 weeks for him but I am grateful for my amazing kids that are willing to sit and play with him. Nothing warms my broken heart then the sound of his laughter with his syblings & visitors.

Thank you Brandon & Tracy for being there for me at the hospital I can't tell you how good it felt to have warm embracing arms to hug. Thanks to Kara, Grandma Debbi and Tali for visiting and helping us (me) with so much. Warm reassuring hugs mean the world even if its partnered with a good cry. Thank you to everyone that has called, email and been there for us even friends of friends and family and strangers. Thank you all!!


After a long recovery we were invited to go to New York to work with Dr. Mike Joyce from Advanced Prosthetics. He is truly an amazing man and did great with Karsen.
We had a few hard spots and up until the last day I was really nervous we'd come home having wasted our time and money. We were running out of time and the cost to get out there was already so much. Thanks to my Mary Kay business I had the opportunity of earning the money to take us there. We didn't have it in our budget just to pick up and go so I am truly grateful to all my family, friends, team members & clients that helped get us there. Thanks to Dallin Larsen, Katy Larsen and Mike Joyce from MonaVie and the M.O.R.E. Project for also helping us get there and get home ;)

We first had a mold made and within 24 hours and getting him up and walking his muscles and leg reacted and grew so we had to create a new mold. We spent over 40 hours hanging out in his office and on the last day they had perfected it. We put Karsen's leg on with no fuss, no fight and no crying. It fit great. We then booked it to the airport and unfortunately missed out flight. So we got to spend one more night at Dr. Joyce's beautiful home. The hospitality of him and his family was incredible.

Dr. Mike Joyce and his amazing staff worked for hours creating a vacuum suction leg for him. We are so grateful for amazing people like these guys!! .

Thomas The Train

Karsen as The Honorary Conductor!!
We had a blast riding the train. Rick, Karsen & Jaxon all got to ride in the Engine. All 3 boys loved it!!
Thanks to Jennifer Day for nominating Karsen and to the great ladies from Good Things Utah!!