Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line

What a great weekend. Sure, it is never "easy" traveling with Jack, but we try to make the most of it. Much of our time in Missoula, especially when the weather is nice, is spent in my parent's backyard. They have this great patio and Jack and Daisy sure like playing around in the grass and new surroundings. Summertime also means that my brother is in the states for about a month (he lives in China) so it was special seeing him, too.

Did I mention that we've been Daisy-free for about a week? My parents graciously took Daisy so we could go to Butte for the 4th. Looks like Daisy made herself right at home.

My new favorite photo of all time.

And the swing is still one of Jack's favorite activities.


The many faces of Jackpants Bennion (or Jack P. Bennion for short).

Can I get a yay! for Skype?

On Saturday morning we went to the Missoula Farmer's Market (literally my favorite place/thing/activity on the planet). I didn't take my camera... just wanted to soak it all in. Afterwards, we relaxed a bit more in the backyard.

Then Jack got sick. One of the reasons we went to Missoula for the weekend was because we scheduled an appointment with Jack's neurosurgeon for a check up and to talk about a growing problem Jack's been having. About once a month since December, Jack gets extremely sick for a stretch of 6 or so hours. Mystery Illness. No other symptoms (no fever, diarrhea, etc.) besides vomiting. The only other thing we notice is that he gets a little loopy. If you remember, Jack was hospitalized the end of December for this and they chalked it up to a "virus".

We have started to think that maybe something is going on with his shunts. We considered that it may be over drainage, because we know he's not having a shunt malfunction (blocked shunt or infection). Anyway, Jack started to have one of these episodes on Saturday afternoon and it was such a bummer because we had to make some quick changes to our evening plans. Jon and I were supposed to go to my friend Erin's wedding. But with Jack sick, Jon stayed behind and my mom went as my date. The wedding was beautiful, by the way.

We'd have to wait for Monday morning for some answers...

The next morning, my mom and her friend Paula got up at 4:30am to participate in the Missoula Marathon (for them, the half marathon). And the fun part is the race ran right by my parent's house. We all got up at 6:30 to go and cheer the runners and walkers on.

Here they come!

The cheering section.

The marathon and the half marathon start at the same time, so we also got to see the lead marathon runners come flying by. Here's the men's marathon lead (this picture is about miles 17 of the marathon... this guy went on to win).

Later we went downtown to the finish area. Jack was feeling better after his quick bout of mystery illness. The runners make their way over the Higgin's street bridge and the street is lined with cheering spectators. Jack got to check out the river while we were waiting for Grams and Paula.

There they are!

Grams quickly grabbed Jack to finish the last few feet and cross the finish line with her.

In what's sure to be a memory to last a lifetime for us, Jack WALKED across the finish line.

Good job, Grams!

All zonked out after his marathon.

One last backyard shot.

Monday morning came and we went to get Jack a CT-Scan before meeting with the Neurosurgeon.

Notice his shirt?

And proof that I actually was there in Missoula, a picture of a sleepy me and Jackpants. Someone said to me this weekend that they never see me in any of the pictures on the blog. Well... I guess it's because I am the photographer usually. But I was there. Proof.

Jack's appointment with the Neurosurgeon showed nothing unusual with the shunts. No blockages or malfunctions. Everything working great! As for the mystery illness, we were referred to a Neurologist to look at something called Gastric Migraines. Anyone ever heard of these?

Before we left, we got to go visit Grams and her co-workers and stop by the NICU to show our boy off.

"Hi-Five, Jack!" The NICU nurses loved seeing him. Said he looks great! And Jack even showed off a bit by saying some words and walking around.

The hallway to the NICU. It's the same hallway that leads to the Mother/Baby unit. There would always be families gathered in happy excitement, waiting for the arrival of a new baby. And sometimes there would be old NICU families visiting with the nurses, showing off their child and how far they've come. I often thought I would never, ever view that hallway with positive feelings. We often didn't know if Jack would even make it out of the NICU.

But we did.  And this time, it was such a joy to show off our boy. To show them how far he has come.

Our little NICU Grad.
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Mom Can I? said...

My older son (now 14) has migraines and started getting them when he was about 6. Before the "headache" part, he would throw up, sometimes several times. his doctors called it a "migraine stomach"..wonder if it's the same thing? (guess i could look it up? huh?) his stomach issue was then followed by a violent headache...pictures are great - love the one of Jack and the dog ;-)

Julie said...

Love all the pictures!!! And it's good to see your face on the blog too. :) Praying you will find some answers to Jack's mystery illness.

Kim Pace said...

What neurologist did you see? I'm always curious since I worked for one when we lived there. I hope everything gets figured out for the little guy. He's such a cute boy!

Shannon said...

WOW - that was one busy weekend!! How exciting it must've been to go back and visit the NICU. I always dream of making the trip back to New Orleans so Marissa can "show off" for all of the nurses that loved her so much. I hope the neurologist can provide some insight into Jack's mystery illnesses. It certainly has to be unsettling to say the least when that happens - never knowing whether it's "real" and you need to get him in or just wait it out.

Jessi said...

We got to Dr. Day in Missoula, who is a Neurosurgeon and Dr Bagdash, in Billings who is a Neurologist.

Lindsay said...

Awesome photos! And way to go, Mrs. M, on the 1/2 marathon! I loved that your mom grabbed Jack at the end, and that he walked across the finish line. How special! I hope you get some answers for the vomiting. I'll pray for J.P. tonight. Love, love the Jackpants nickname. J.P. Is a little redneck, but I'm in a silly mood tonight, I guess. ;)

Sarah Pope said...

I love all of your pictures...especially the one of Jack asleep with the marathon medal around his neck! Sounds like you had a great weekend. Its great news that his shunts are working, but I know how frustrating it is to not have any answers! Praying that simeone will be able to give you some insight soon!

Kim Pace said...

All of Missoula's neurosurgeon's are excellent! (Good thing, huh?) It was one of those things my Dr. commented on. I've heard of Dr. Bagdash, I think. Where Missoula has a lot of great neurosurgeon's, it lacks neurologists (at least when I was there. There was definitely more work than dr's available!). I hope there are more there now. At the time, we only had one pediatric neurologist there and I believe he left before my dr. did. I'm glad you found some good ones! :)