Prepare for the Big Bumps in Life

be thankful

I was walking out of select soccer registration on September 27 when I noticed my 16-year-old daughter Andi sent me a text to call her immediately. I was trying to dial as another text came through from my husband Nick telling me the same thing. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I knew something had to be seriously wrong. In the five seconds it took me to dial, I wondered if something had happened to my pregnant stepdaughter, if a family member had passed or something had happened to one of my stepsons. Both of my bio children were safe at home. Nick answered the phone with a shaky voice. “Joel has been in a car accident in Elizabeth Town and has been air cared to a Louisville Hospital. I’m not sure if he’s okay, I’m not even sure where he is.”

My heart sunk. Joel was 19 at the time and just started his first year at Eastern Kentucky University. I thought he was spending the weekend resting in his dorm so my first thought was they were wrong. They had the wrong kid. But then it sunk in. He was on his way back from visiting his girlfriend at Murray – a five hour drive. I don’t even really remember driving home from soccer registration. I just had to get to my husband.

I quickly packed a few basics and we jumped in the truck with his brother Chris, picked up my step-daughter and started the two hour drive to Louisville. It was a long drive. I remember thinking “don’t throw up, just don’t throw up.”

That night was the beginning of a three month stay in hospitals. I watched my step-son fight for his life and win. Doctors were baffled on how he survived but he did. He is still in recovery but is going to be as good as new. Family support, prayer, friends, amazing health care providers and his determination made him survive.

This wasn’t my first experience with hospitals and praying that a child can overcome the odds. My now 14-year-old son Joey was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis almost four years ago. He had to undergo a bone graft of the hip, spend months in a wheelchair, years in physical therapy and lots of a counseling for PTSD. He is doing amazing now (I have to give partial credit to Circus Mojo in Ludlow, Ky, for that. They have kept Joey physically fit and give him something to look forward to).

joey german

Joey’s diagnose changed me for the better. I became much less of a worrier and my anxiety reduced tremendously. Although this is the opposite of what most people expect, it really was a natural reaction. It took that diagnosis for me to realize that there is no reason to worry over every little thing and life and really the only thing that matters is our health.  That didn’t mean that I didn’t lock myself in the bathroom and cry about Joey’s condition sometimes. Of course I did. This is my son and I wanted him to be okay.

I shed many tears over the last 3-1/2 months worried about my step-son because that is normal. But I have also regained perspective. Life is valuable and it can be taken from you at any moment. It’s important to surround yourself by positive people who build you up and don’t focus on petty bumps in life because the positive people in your life are the ones who will help you get through the big bumps.




To Leave or Not to Leave

my cutie kids

my cutie kids

How do you choose between children? I have two children. I have an almost 14-year-old daughter who is finishing up her last year in middle school and an 11-year-old son who is finishing up his last year of elementary school but is in the hospital. My daughter’s 8th grade class leaves for DC tomorrow night and I’m supposed to be on that bus. But my son… What do I do?

My son Joey is in the hospital with unexplained shooting pain in his leg and refuses to put weight on his leg. Doctors are doing test after test to try to figure out what’s going on. I have stayed with him around the clock. My daughter Andi has been passed among family members and friends for the last two weeks. Her routine has been a mess. The last year has been hard on all of us since Joey’s diagnosis of LCH and his hip bone graft. I was looking forward to having time away with her and seeing her have fun with her friends.

Joey will probably be at Cincinnati Children’s the rest of the week. They are talking about admitting him to physical therapy rehab so they can get him walking again. This is assuming they find nothing serious in the testing today. I would obviously stay if they find something serious. But I have friends and family who are willing to stay with him around the clock if I go to D.C.

Not only would a lot of money be lost (did not get insurance on trip – duh! I know) but my daughter would be upset if I didn’t go. Plus she’d worry about her brother. She would try to understand I need to be with him but she is only 14.

I know if I go and something happens, I could jump on a plane immediately. We know that the Histio is not back and that it is not life-threatening. So the chances of a big emergency happening are pretty slim.

So what do I do? I want to hear your thoughts…

P.S. Before being put under for tests today, Joey said “Mom, Andi will only have this trip once in her life. I will probably have at least 10 more procedures. Go with her.”