Tonight I've been inspired by my husband, but mostly my brother-in-law. When looking back on the year 2011, I think we, as a Theodore family, will look back with mixed emotions. It's been a rough year as a family. Of course we were overjoyed by the birth of Tera, but obviously that came with the news of the DS diagnosis and also a 7 day stay in the NICU. We thought that would be the hardest thing we as a family would have to endure, although it was only February and we should have known better...
Last spring Tom's brother started experiencing some pain in his jaw and, long story short, a few months later it was finally discovered that he had a mass in his jaw that regardless of test results, was going to have to come out. In mid August he finally underwent an almost 20 hour surgery to remove a portion of his jaw and rebuild it with a bone grafted from his leg. He was kept unconscious for about 4 days and in the hospital for 14. When he was finally able to come home he was on crutches for the leg surgery, a feeding tube, and a trach tube. He was also given the official diagnosis all of us had hoped to avoid; the mass was cancerous. Prior to surgery, his doctors had already decided he would undergo radiation treatment after he had healed to ensure any risk of cancer would be eradicated. He healed remarkably well and is now entering his 3rd week of radiation.
During his recovery, we were able to bring Tera over to visit him and she was in perfect form each time. She smiled, rolled, blew bubbles, and was her usual cheerful self. It was amazing to watch her uncle's face light up when he saw her and we were once again amazed at the effect she is able to have on people. Her Uncle Mike was one of the very first people to visit us in the hospital and was second only to her Aunt Cathy in holding her. They were one of the first people we told after her diagnosis and they were there for us every time we needed them in the hospital; to visit, bring us food, help us take care of the dog, and just be there for us. When Mike was going through his recovery, we tried to make sure we sent him regular pictures of his favorite niece as often as we could and each time we got a grateful reply. He loves being able to hold her when we visit and I can't wait until she's able to goof around with him because I think the two of them will always have a special bond. Two people who will have overcome diagnoses that most people dread hearing about. Two people who will have to work just a little bit harder at some things, and two people who will always be there to make the other one smile.
|Tera and Uncle Mikey during pumpkin carving.|