Welcome!

This blog was inspired by 31 for 21 & is about my wonderful family.

"As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible & trust God with the impossible." ~Ruth Bell Graham

"Never look down on someone, unless you're helping them up!"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My family

     Troy continues to amaze me each & every day!  He has been standing up all by himself for a week now.  The more he does it, the longer he stands.  We've been trying to get him to take steps to us after he's standing & we've had some success.  But last night, he stood up & walked right to his daddy with out even being asked to.  He took 5 steps!  I know, I know, he's still got a way to go to be classified a "walker", but he's getting there!  I sure will be glad when he has mastered walking because over the past week, he has cracked his face on the coffee table several times.  He is also talking more & his words are more understandable.  Just yesterday, I was folding socks & he came up to me.  He loves to take the socks out of the laundry basket & then put them back in.  So I told him, "Troy, that's a sock."  He looked at it & said, "sock."  It was just as clear as a bell...SOCK!  There are some things he just can't say right now, but I'm confident that he'll be talking up a storm pretty soon.  His PT is bringing in a ST for a coaching visit during her next session on 4/14...I can't wait!  I'm hoping for some pointers on how to teach him better.  On another note, I am so anxious about the next step with Babies Can't Wait.  When he turns 3 (in just over 9 months), he will be discharged from BCW & must receive his therapy from our local school system.  I am very uneasy about that because he doesn't like strangers AT ALL!  He doesn't like other children either.  I know he needs to interact with others, but he's not in to it at all.  Even if he knows you & hasn't seen you in a few days & you approach him, he turns away, clings to me (or his daddy or Chancey), & grunts.  Hopefully he'll do a 360 & by the time he's 3 & he'll have changed his attitude about other people.  If not, I will have to seriously consider our options.
    We had a meeting at Chancey's new school on Monday.  He'll be a freshman this summer so we went to learn about the rules at JHS & to approve his tentative schedule for the '11-'12 school year.  They want you to know what you want to do when you graduate before you start high school.  Well, that's easy.  Chancey has known that since he was a little kid.  And now I know that God has lead us to this school because it is the only school in the county to offer this program.  :)  Chancey is out of school next week for spring break.  He can't wait to be off for 9 days straight, & to tell you the truth, I can't either!  I'll have both of my boys at home with me all day!  He only has one baseball game during that time & it's in the afternoon next Saturday.  I wish we could take off on a little vacation, but that's out of the question.  Mack has to work because his new supervisor has that week off...plus he needs to save as many days as possible in case Troy needs surgery, or I need surgery.   
     Phew!  I woke up this morning feeling so sick & in some serious pain!  I'm praying that it will subside soon because I have to go first thing in the morning to Emory Midtown to have my MRI.  I am terrified beyond belief & have dreaded tomorrow all week long.  I bet you're thinking, a MRI...no big deal.  But I am SEVERELY CLAUSTROPHOBIC!  I have to be sedated just to do a CT scan.  I had to have an open MRI last year & my doctor gave me a Valium before the scan & I couldn't even do that.  How in the world am I going to do a regular MRI?  (I have to have the regular MRI because it's a much better picture.)  They are going to sedate me for it.  I hope they have enough sedation to put down an elephant because it'll take that to get me in that machine.  I just hope they are prepared for that because one shot of Versed isn't going to do the trick, they are going to have to put me OUT for the 30 minutes it takes to do the scan.  And I mean OUT because if I open my eyes & can see that I am trapped in that machine I will freak out.  I know that I need the scan done, but I can't overcome this claustrophobia...I have tried.  I am also the hardest person to get an IV in or blood out of, so I am dreading getting stuck a dozen times.  I don't want to waste any one's time either...Mack is having to get off work at 5:00 a.m. just to take me down there & someone may need the MRI worse than I do & I'm taking their slot.  So I really hope, & have been in much prayer, that I'm able to do this.  And I am hoping that if I have to have surgery that it can wait until mid July when Mack can be off of work.  The good thing is this doctor doesn't make me wait until my next appointment to find out the results of the MRI, I can call Monday morning & the nurse will tell me the outcome.  :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Field of Dreams

     Words can not express how proud I am of Chancey, my oldest son.  He has been through an awful lot to only be fourteen years old.  But he has taken all of the obstacles in life & turned them in to a positive.  Because of the trials we've been through, he is a much stronger person.  I wish he could've been spared the pain & heartache at such a young age, but I'm grateful for who he has become because of it all.  Here's an example of just how amazing he is:  Yesterday, we were sitting at the baseball field waiting on the game to start.  Chancey & the rest of the team were on the field warming up.  A few minutes later, Chancey came running to the fence.  He said, "Mama, look at that field over there.  There are a bunch of kids & adults with Down syndrome playing baseball."  You know me.  I immediately put Troy in his stroller & headed that way, my husband was right there with us.  We got up there & saw that it was the Field of Dreams.  I had heard about this field, but didn't know where it was.  The Field of Dreams was inspired by Flowery Branch native, Hall of Fame pitcher, Phil Neikro.  It is  a rubberized ADA accessible baseball field & an ADA accessible playground, that will meet the needs of children with physical & developmental disabilities.  As I saw these kids playing baseball, laughing, & having a wonderful time with their peers, I had to choke back the tears.  One young man hit the ball & then came in to score a run.  He was so proud of himself & so was everyone else there.  They all cheered for him & gave him high fives.  I thought to myself, I hope that will be Troy one day...out there playing & having fun with no one making fun of him or mocking him.  We stood there watching for a few minutes & left...didn't want to look like a stalker.  Seeing that just warmed my heart.  :)  Then on the way the home from the game, I was telling my husband about this story I read on one of the groups on facebook that I belong to.  A woman that has DS is living at home with her father.  She has a job, manages her own money, but her father is all she has.  His health is detierorating & he's afraid that when he dies that the state will put her in an institution.  I told my husband that we need to plan for Troy's future in case something happened to us both.  Chancey must have been listening in on our conversation instead of watching the DVD that I thought he was watching, because he spoke up.  He said, "Mama, Troy will live with me.  I'll take care of him if he's not able to live by himself."  I told him that his wife may not want that to happen, that one day he'll have a family of his own.  He said, "Troy is my brother.  My life is all about Down syndrome.  I will not be with a girl that doesn't accept Troy, that's just not an option.  I wear my Down syndrome awareness bracelets all of the time for Troy & he's a part of me."  Oh, I don't think I have ever been more proud of Chancey in my entire life!  He would actually put his brother before anything else, now that's love!  I know it has to be hard to be the sibling of a child with special needs.  I'm sure he feels like he's put on the back burner all of the time & that all of our attention goes to Troy.  Because, to tell you the truth, it does.  We are constantly working with him because we have to.  Troy requires more support & assistance, Chancey knows that.  He understands that we love them both the same, but Troy just can't do for himself just yet.  We tell Chancey all of the time how we did the same things for him when he was little, & he just says, "I know."  We are always trying to raise awareness for DS.  We wear our ribbons, bracelets, & shirts with pride & we have events that we attend year round for DS  awareness.  But  Chancey never complains, not one time.  I post a lot of things on facebook about Troy's accomplishments & about DS awareness, but Chancey never complains.   You know, I think it takes a beautiful soul to have a sibling with special needs.  You have to have a BIG heart & not have ONE jealous bone in your body.  Not one time has he ever resented Troy.  {In fact, on Monday, we were eating at Cracker Barrel & Chancey said, "You know, I wouldn't mind having a child with Down syndrome."  I thought to myself, if a fourteen year old young man wouldn't mind having a child with DS, why in the world would adults have a different opinion?}  He has never wished away the DS, now the heart condition is another thing.  He helps us out tremendously with Troy.  He helps Troy out & even teaches him a few things.  Their bond is simply inseperable & I thank God everyday for that, & for them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm no expert!

     I try to be the best wife & mother that I possibly can.  I am doing my absolute best here & I feel like it's no one's job to criticize what I am doing.  I love my boys unconditionally.  Yes, they make mistakes, so do I, so does everyone.  But I will always be here cheering them on, no matter what the circumstance.  God saw fit to make me the mother of these two precious souls & I am trying to make Him proud.  It really doesn't matter what any one's opinion is about how I raise my kids, because I'm not in this to please them.
     It was recently brought to my attention that someone feels that I'm not properly feeding my child.  Well, the way I see it is this:  if you think you can do a better job, go ahead...try!  Yes, my son is 26 months old & weighs 24 lbs.  Yes, I'd like for him to gain weight & eat more.  But that's not happening.  It's not that I don't try to feed him, I do.  He eats when he's hungry & he asks for food when he is hungry.  I do not starve my son!  I offer him food all through out the day.  If he eats, great, if not, it's okay.  I have consulted TWO doctors regarding his feeding habits & this is their exact response, "He's not going to starve.  He's going to eat what he wants, when he wants it.  He's two & ALL kids go through this stage.  I'm not concerned about his weight or nutrition."  If his pediatrician & cardiologist both tell me he's fine, then I'm not concerned.  And I feel like, if you're not with me 24/7, then how do you know what he ate before you were there?  Or what he'll eat after you're gone?  If we go out to eat & he's eating something that's not ideal, don't you think that I fed him something with proper nutrition before I gave him that?  He eats cereal & soy milk at 7:30 a.m., two jars of baby food (one vegetable, one fruit) at 12:30 p.m., & two jars of baby food (one vegetable, one fruit) at 4:30 p.m., & 4 oz of PediaSure mixed with 4 oz of soy milk with cereal at 9:00 p.m.  In addition to this, he also drinks 8-12 oz of V8 V-Fusion (which has one serving of fruit & one serving of vegetables per 8 oz), 4 oz of Plum Smart, 4oz of PediaSure mixed with 4 oz of soy milk, & 6 oz of soy milk throughout the day...EVERYDAY.  He also eats two snacks a day, usually at 10 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.  I try to give him Gerber Graduates puffs, but he gets tired of them all of the time.  So I will give him Ritz Whole Wheat crackers, Cheerios, & sometimes he eats a few Cheetos & sometimes he wants a bite or two of what we're eating.  If we go somewhere out to eat & he's already eaten, I'll give him something that I know he'll eat while we're there.  If he hasn't eaten, then I feed him his baby food there.  But just because he's eating something that you view as "unhealthy" doesn't mean that's all he has ate that day or that I give him that everyday.  I can't force him to eat something he doesn't like.  I was actually advised not to force him to eat, period.  His doctors tell me to "pick my battles."  So I feed him what he likes that is healthy.  Yes, every now and then I will give him some Cheetos, & that's okay..sometimes I give him a French fry or 12, & that's okay too.  But by no means is that all he eats all day, everyday.  The way we look at is this.  He's eating FOOD, not being fed via feeding tube.  He is growing & receives the vitamins he needs daily....just read the label on the PediaSure alone.  Just in that he's getting 23 vitamins & minerals, prebiotics, antioxidants, DHA, & Omega 3s.  Just in the cereal alone, he's getting 15 vitamins, & it's also made from whole grains.  He's getting what he needs to grow.  Is he slow to grow?  Yep.  You endure 3 heart surgeries in your first 2 years of life & see if you're not behind in all aspects.  Then add Down syndrome to the mix.  People with DS are shorter, it's a known fact.  They also get their teeth later & their soft spots are slow to close because their bones are slower growing.  Troy still has a soft spot & is still lacking four teeth.  My point here is this.  Until you've walked a mile in my shoes, don't try to wear them.  Don't judge me or question my abilities as a mother.  Unless you're an expert on DS, or even know any true facts on DS, don't pretend to know anything about it.  I live each day with a beautiful blessing from God with DS & I'm no expert.  But I do love both of my boys with every fiber of my being & then some.  Neither one of my kids want for anything & Mack & I see to that.  If you have a question or concern, please ask me...don't talk behind my back & assume.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"R"

     Yesterday, it was brought to my attention that a group of comedic D.J.s called Trigg Palin retarded.  So, I began my boycott.  I did everything I possibly could, short of going to these ignorant grinches personally & speaking my mind.  I received a response from an Exec. at the radio station.  He was defending the radio personalities instead of trying to rectifying the situation.  They claimed to have used the term "medically."  But needless to say, it was not. 
     I have come to grips with the fact that I can't change the world.  I know that no matter how much I love my son that not everyone does.  I just can't understand why middle aged adults behave with such unregard to children.  I mean, for goodness sakes, my son was eleven when Troy was born, & he has never made fun of other children.  (Just last night, he missed a ball that came right to him in his game.  All of his teammates teased him.  Then several other boys missed balls that were hit right to them.  Did he ridicule them?  No!  He kept his mouth shut, because he was raised knowing that you don't make fun of anyone!)  What happened to values, morals, respect, common decency? 
     Sure, my son is two years old.  He can't walk unassisted.  He can't talk like most kids his age.  He can't feed himself using utensils.  He's not even close to trying to be potty trained.  BUT...he'll get there!  He can get where he's going.  He does let us know what he wants & he does talk.  He is able to eat & can feed himself finger foods.  He's one tough little boy & he has had to endure more pain in his short two years than many people endure in a lifetime...but he still smiles, he never gives up, & he never complains or holds a grudge.  He knows what no means...& he even knows that uh-un means no.  He can tell you what a horse, cow, cat, dog, frog, monkey, donkey, chicken, lion, & duck all say...this week he's working on what sounds a goat & pig make.  He can say many, many words:  Mama, Daddy, Chancey, Kinsey, kitty kitty, yes, Elmo, Dana, Papaw, Grandpa, Memaw, diaper, clap, baby, ball, hi, bye, who is this, ah (for uh-oh), eat, bite bite, kick, me (for get me), Pee-pie, bath, beep beep (his activity walker), nank nank (drink), teeth, cheeks, tickle, etc...I'm sure there are more, I just can't think of them all.  He also tries to sing Happy birthday.  He can also point to most of his body parts & follow commands (such as lay down, bring me your drink).  If you ask him to give you an Eskimo, he'll rub his nose against yours...if you ask for a shoodough, he'll give you a kiss. Yes, he's behind where he should be.  But does that constitute anyone calling him the "R" word?  No, those arrogant so called comedians weren't talking about my son directly.  But Trigg has Down syndrome, so does Troy.  So when someone makes fun of or labels another person with Down syndrome, I take offense.  You may have well just have said those nasty comments about my son.  Because the Down syndrome community is a close knit community.  We are like a group of lionesses...we are overprotective of our children & when you attack one, you attack them all!  So beware! 
     Being the mother of a child with special needs & a child without, I realize it's hard not to understand what it's like raising a child with special needs.  I had no clue until I had Troy.  I was scared beyond belief that I wouldn't know how to be the mother Troy needed.  But I have done my absolute best to give him the best life possible.  But that's hard when trolls like Walton & Johnson (who broadcast live on Houston on 93.7, Temple-Killeen on 101.7, New Orleans on 95.7, Baton Rouge on 98.1, Lake Charles on 101.3, Alexandria on 96.9, Shreveport on 98.1FM ~yes...Shevreport..my home town~, Gulfport-Biloxi on 97.9, Ft. Smith, AR on 100.7, Blacksburg, VA on 105.3) label him as the "R" word.  We all know what they mean when they call people the "R" word, they mean stupid, dumb, ignorant.  People with special needs are not "R", they're blessings from God.  And we all know that God doesn't make mistakes.  So before you use the word "R", please think about the people you're hurting.  I can give you the names of thousands of people you are offending...the first four are Troy, Kelli, Chancey, & Mack Forrester. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What would you do?

     Have I mentioned how bad I DESPISE Chancey's school, lately?  UGH!  I am so disgusted!  I had rather blog about something positive, but I just have to get this out of my system.  Chancey called me a little before 10 a.m. today saying that he had hurt himself while running outside during Science class & he couldn't feel his hands.  With my medical background, you tell me that you can't feel your hands, I immediately think NECK injury.  So I rush to his school (which they moved a few years ago from right down the street, just minutes away, to miles down the street in a completely different district).  I turn in the school & two teachers have their students just standing in the parking lot.  The teachers themselves didn't move, so who expects the students to move?  FINALLY, after I had to ask, they slowly but surely moved on to the side walk.  I go in the school to get Chancey, & he has bandages every where.  I asked if he had any feeling or movement in his hands yet & he did.  His right hand had some tingling, which was to be expected.  That's what I was hoping for...when you fall & land on your hands, it takes a little bit to regain full feeling.  We get to the car, after weeding through the students & teachers that are coming back inside from standing out in the parking lot.  I asked him if the nurse cleaned the wounds.  He said, "no, she just put gauze on them & taped them up."  What?  She didn't even wash them off before sealing them up?  How unsanitary!  So I get him home to further assess the damage & clean him up.  He had bruises & a lot of swelling, along with multiple sites where 2 & 3 layers of tissue were skinned completely off.    As I was cleaning him up, we were talking.  I asked him if he cried when it happened.  That was a stupid question because he's like his daddy...no tears no matter what.  He told me that he was laughing because he thought it was funny.  He had been racing a girl because they were learning about speed.  He said he knew he was going to fall because he felt it coming.  He said that he was running at full speed when he fell on the concrete.  When he got up everyone was laughing at him, including the teachers.  No one tried to help him at all.  I guess they thought that he was okay because he was laughing, but the teachers should've been more sympathetic.  He went to the nurse to get cleaned up, which she didn't do.  Then he told me that his teacher in the nextclass made him feel stupid in front of the entire class.  The teacher looked at another student & Chancey's fellow team mate on the baseball team & said "Layne, you need to go tell your coach that Chancey is going home because of a few scrapes."  Oh, when he told me that, I wanted to go up to that teacher & slap him!  I mean, way to build up Chancey's already low self esteem by making fun of him in front of a fellow student & team mate, not to mention the entire class.  As if he wasn't hating this school before today.  I told him that he only had 2 more months at this school & he'd be at the high school & things would be different there. 
     I've had to email a coach, the principal, & the school board about the coach calling someone the "R" word multiple times.  He has a teacher, the same one who watched him fall & laughed about it, who grades him by his behavior in class...NOT by his knowledge of the material she's teaching.  Now this teacher is making him feel even worse because I chose to bring him home to assess his wounds.  REALLY?  Didn't a woman die a few years ago from hitting her head on the ski slopes?  Didn't Billy Mays die from hitting his head on an airplane?  So is it not my perogative to bring my son home for my observation?  I mean what would you have done?  If your child calls you & tells you that he fell on concrete at school & he couldn't feel his hands?  Maybe I am overprotective, but what if I had left him there & he had a more serious injury?  I don't feel like it's that teacher's business & I think he should keep his opinions to himself.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chancey

    On this day, 14 years ago, I fell in love all over again.  My son, Chancey, was born at 2:23 p.m.  He weighed 7 lbs 3.5 oz & was 19 1/2" long. 
     People always ask me if there is a meaning behind his name.  Well, of course there is a reason I named him Chancey.  Here's the entire story.  I had some strange abdominal pains on July 8, 1996 & went to the ER.  They ran 2 pregnancy tests (blood & urine) & did a pelvic exam.  The doctor told me that I wasn't pregnant & they couldn't find anything wrong, but to limit my work & other activities for a few days.  The next day, I was in a horrific, fatal, one car accident.  I was rushed to the nearest level 1 trauma center.  They ran every test imaginable on me, from pregnancy tests to tox screens & xrays to CT scans.  According to their results, I wasn't pregnant or on any type of drugs or alcohol & the only bone I broke was T6 in my back.  I had to have some stitches & stay in the hospital for observation because I also had fluid on the back of my skull.  I was at home recovering, when I received a phone call.  It was the doctor from the ER that I had went to on July 8th.  She informed me that my results from the pelvic exam showed that I had severe endometriosis & I would never be able to have kids.  She advised me to get to a gynecologist ASAP, that I needed surgery.  But that would have to wait due to my injuries sustained in the accident.  A few weeks later, I began to feel nauseous constantly & then I would vomit pretty much all day long.  My mama took me the doctor that was following me post accident.  He advised me to take a pregnancy test.  The next day, I did.  It was positive!  (Not only was I pregnant, but I found out that I had MANY more injuries than I was originally told.)  My mama immediately scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN.  I found out on August 28, 1996 that I was 8 weeks pregnant!  We were very concerned about the baby since I had been bounced around like a pinball & had lots of xrays, CT scans, & medication.  She assured me that the baby was fine.  Oh, I was so excited!  But we knew that the miscarriage rate didn't decrease until after the 12th week.  We didn't want to buy anything for the baby or really prepare until we knew for sure it would be okay.  So the day I made it to 12 weeks, my mama took me shopping for maternity clothes & shopping for the baby.  I started having pains in the car on the way to town.  I asked my mama to stop so I could go to the bathroom.  When I got out of the car, I had blood all over me & all in the seat of the car.  I was so distraught knowing that I was probably having a miscarriage.  The ER doctors took me straight to the L&D floor & I had an emergency ultrasound.  I wasn't having a miscarriage, my placenta had a bad tear in it.  The baby was fine!  I had to take it easy for a few months, but he or she should be fine.  Finally, the time had come.  I had a fairly easy labor, only pushing for 30 minutes.  But when my son was born, he was purple & blue all over & not breathing.  My doctor called in the NICU team & they rushed him out.  I was so heartbroken, but I felt in my soul that he would be just fine.  About 30 minutes later, they were taking me from the delivery room to my room.  I asked if I could please stop by & see my baby.  The doctors had him stabilized & they were massaging his chest with a vibrating instrument to break up the mucus in this lungs.  I was relieved!  I hadn't been in my room 15 minutes when I heard a knock on my door.  It was my baby!  I knew that his name had to be special because of the obstacles we faced to get him here safe & sound.  
     Now, he wishes I would've named him an ordinary name because kids tease him about his name.  And everyone misprounces it, calling him Chauncey.  But I am hoping that one day he will realize the meaning of it & why I named him Chancey.  I'm sure when he looks into his own child's eyes, he'll understand then.
     Chancey has brought so much love & joy to my life.  He is the reason I have fought my illness so hard.  He has faced a lot of obstacles in his short life, but he has dealt with them with grace & understanding & now he's so much stronger for overcoming the road blocks.  He is such an awesome young man & I am beyond proud of him.  He's such a wonderful big brother, too.  I thank God every day for giving me Chancey...I couldn't have hand picked a better son.  Happy 14th birthday, Chancey!  I love you!  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tsunami of prayers

     A week from today is World Down Syndrome Day.  We have a family celebration planned.  I bought us all DS Day shirts last year & we'll be wearing them, along with our awareness bracelets & ribbons.  I will make awareness ribbon cookies, as they were a HUGE hit last year.  We'll all release 2 balloons (1 blue, 1 yellow) in honor of Troy turning 2 this year.  Then we'll go out to eat that evening.  I know, it doesn't sound like much, but Troy is still too young to understand.  We'll take pictures for momentoes for him later.  If you don't have a child with DS, please consider wearing blue & yellow on March 21st to show your support for DS.
     I really would like to get a DS support group started for our area, but no one seems to be interested in participating.  I just wish there was some way that I could reach out to parents who have just learned that their baby has DS.  I was scared to death when I found out Troy had DS & if I would've been able to speak to other parents, I probably would've had a different outlook in the beginning.  Plus, I know that parents who do receive a prenatal diagnosis will also see the same perinatalogist I did, & he's not pro-DS at all.  My OB/GYN was & that was a HUGE help, but if what if they go to an anti-DS OB/GYN?  That's one life I possible could've saved.  Also, I know that God has wonderful plans for my family & I hope that we don't miss a calling.  I really wanted to help out in the Joy Ministry (Special Needs ministry) at our church & allow Troy to attend as well, but we can't right now.  Troy's doctors don't want him around ANY one that could be sick & my health just won't allow it either.  I'm hoping that we'll be able to join in very soon.  
     I pray for my boys daily & God has really blessed my family.  Chancey is doing really well in school & he's playing baseball for JHS.  The school also revamped the bus route, so the rude boy doesn't ride the new bus with him.  He seems to be much happier...he still doesn't LOVE this school, but he's adjusting.  Troy is really becoming more verbal lately & he is also listening more.  I'm hoping he'll be walking very soon.  I am just so proud of my boys & who they are becoming.
     Mack did hear from his friend in Japan later in the evening on Friday.  He & his wife are doing well.  They live in Tokyo & say they weren't hit near as hard as others around them.  Praise the Lord!  However, there are many others who weren't as lucky.  Please join me in praying for them.  We can create a tsunami of prayers for them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Good news, bad news

     Well, I have some good news...
and some bad news.
     When asked, "which do you want first, the good news or the bad news" I always opt for the bad news first.  That way I can get the bad news out of the way & focus on the good news.  So here's the bad news.  I went to the doctor yesterday & found out that I will probably need major surgery pretty soon, surgery that I was told 15 years ago could NEVER happen.  I was supposed to have a procedure next Friday, the 18th, but I will have to postpone it because I won't have anyone to watch Troy or drive me home.  Also, Mack has a life long friend that is in Japan & we haven't heard anything from him.  We are praying for him & his wife, that all is well with them....that he doesn't have internet or cell phone service, that's why there's been no contact.
     Now, on to the good news!  Mack will be going to first shift next week (Chancey's birthday is Tuesday) & the next week.  This is awesome news for our family!  I wish it were a permanent situation, but God has His reasons why it's not.  He has to work tonight, but he'll be off Sunday night, so it's not so bad.  MORE good news!  Troy is following more commands, speaking more, comprehending more, & he took 6 steps yesterday.  Today, as a part of my little OT attempt, I introduced him to puzzles.  He would try to repeat the words I was saying when I was showing him what the pictures were.  He couldn't say a lot of them correctly, but he was working hard to try to.  He was concentrating on my mouth when I was speaking & you could tell he was really trying.  He also showed me where to put some of the pieces & actually put some pieces where they belong!  I wasn't at his PT appointment yesterday because I was at my doctor appointment, therefore I missed his 6 steps.  :(  But, I will see if we can get him to do a repeat performance when Mack wakes up this afternoon.  Also, his PT says that she'll bring a speech therapist with her when she comes next (3/24) to coach me on how to help Troy the best way I can.  I am so excited about that!  And, the virus that Chancey & I had is gone.  He went back to school today & hopefully he'll get to play in his baseball game tomorrow.
     Please remember the people of Japan & their loved ones in your prayers.