Life is Worth Living

Snake Correction & Update

Anyone remember this photo that I posted awhile ago?

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I wrote about it HERE at the end of that post.

At the time, we thought it might be a bull snake, but we were wrong.  That is definitely not a bull snake.  It’s a fox snake.

The boys and I recently made this discovery while we were in Rochester last week.  During one of Paul’s good days, I took the twins to Quarry Hill, which features some scenic trails and a little nature center.  This nature center happens to house a few snakes (yuck), and a staff worker kindly let the boys hold their fox snake (yuck, yuck, yuck).

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The Twins holding a juvenile fox snake.

Now this is obviously disgusting, but the boys were undaunted by it and had no problem holding a live snake.  Me?  No.  Way.

The point is, is that I was gravely mistaken about the difference between a bull snake and a fox snake.  In case anyone is wondering, a bull snake is fatter, and while the colors of both are nearly the same, their patterns are not.  See below.

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Large Bull Snake.   (I will never understand people who keep snakes alive–cages or no cages.)

As it is, when my husband and I were hiking this last summer on some nearby trails, I believe it was a bull snake we came by.  But all the other snakes we have seen this year have been fox snakes.  Like this one I snapped a shot of towards the end of summer:

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Fox Snake

And here it is, trying to get away from my boys:

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There.  I’ve made my correction.  My conscience may rest in peace.  Science class is over for the year.  May I never see a snake again.  Amen.  Alleluia.

P.S.  For those of you wondering about Paul…he’s doing well.  He is having daily headaches, but they’re “small,” which means that both of his shunts are working.  We travel back to Rochester at the end of November.  If both shunts continue to work, but he still has daily headaches, then likely he’ll be in for that big, complex surgery.  St. Jude, pray for us.

P.P.S.  We’re just kind of hoping the headaches disappear all together.  But in the meantime, this last week has been nice, as these headaches are not the scary ones, and he can fully function with them.

Life is Worth Living

Update From Rochester

I want to begin by soberly thanking every one of you who has offered a prayer or a sacrifice for Paul and our family.  Again we are deeply thankful for all the kind words, meals, money, and most especially, the prayers and sacrifices.  God works in mysterious ways, and please know that we feel His love through you all.

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Unfortunately after another shunt revision surgery last Friday, Paul is still hurting.  His head is aching, in an ebb and flow manner, and he isn’t eating well.

Because we were able to secure a house within walking distance of the hospital, however, Paul was allowed to join us.  This has been a great blessing for our family.  It cheers him to be around all his brothers and sisters.

Yesterday we took the whole family and attended a Latin Mass at the shrine in La Crosse, WI, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  During his brief homily the priest paused and said quietly, “One of two things happen, when one begins to pray the rosary every day.  He either quits sinning, or he quits praying the rosary.”

Put so starkly, those words gave me great hope.

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Interior of the Church

Incidentally, we were able to make this pilgrimage to the Shrine through the generosity of some friends.  But also, on a practical level, we were able to take Paul because the Shrine offers rides on a golf cart to those individuals who are unable to make the ten minute hike up the wooded hill to the church.  Our Lady was surely interceding for us!

We prayed for Paul, but also for a friend of ours suffering from cancer and for the Amazon Synod.  We lit a candle in this small chapel on the hillside:

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It was a beautiful day, even if our hearts were aching for our son.

Tomorrow Paul has more appointments, to determine what should or should not be done.  Every day we live in uncertainty as to whether he’ll get better or not.  It is agonizing.  But we continue to trust in God.  We want to be loyal to His will, no matter the cost.

Tomorrow is also Paul’s 11th birthday, which he of course shares with his twin brother, Michael.  (I wrote about their birth HERE.)

But today…today we thank God for his most lovely and fair mother.  Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

 

Life is Worth Living

A Quick Note on Paul

Dear Readers,

Paul is unexpectedly back in the hospital.  (For those of you who are new, click HERE for more details and pictures.)

We are choked with grief, as we watch him suffer.  He’s been vomiting for two days now, as the doctors are deciding what to do.  As it is, they are going to tap his spinal shunt, to see if fluid will come out.  If no fluid comes out, then Paul will have another shunt revision surgery.  If fluid does come out, then that means the shunt system is “working,” but it’s not helping him.  In this case, he’ll have a cranial reconstruction surgery on Monday or Tuesday.  This is where they cut and peel back his skin from ear to ear, take apart his skull, and put it back together, allowing for more space.  (St. Jude, pray for us.)

In the meantime, his doctors will do everything they can to get him through the weekend.  They can go in, open up his cyst, and drain fluid to release pressure, but again, they won’t do the cranial reconstruction surgery until Monday or Tuesday because it requires more doctors and planning.  It is a complex surgery, to say the least.

We should know later tonight which surgery to expect.

This is very painful for all of us.  It’s heart-rending.

Just now, we’ve booked a house within walking distance of the hospital, and the children and I are leaving tomorrow morning to join my husband and Paul.  Our whole family will be together.

Please remember us in your prayers.

P.S.  A friend sent this to me.  I feel it in my heart.  Thank you, dear friend.

 

Motherhood & Parenting

In the Hospital Again

Dear Readers,

I am sorry to have such depressing news lately, but it cannot be helped.  We need your prayers once again for Paul.

Last week he began having prolonged headaches again, and we knew something was up. On Sunday I drove through the night, back to Rochester.  It was an excruciating drive, as he was vomiting, and during intense periods of head pain, his body tightened into a ball, and he slurred his speech, unable to control even his facial muscles.

I prayed that Mary would fly us to the hospital.

Paul prayed for Ex-Cardinal McCarrick, that he might come to his senses, and for my brother, who is suffering from a terrible year of farming.

Well, we made it, and spent a few sleepless hours in the ER.  Yesterday Paul had surgery to revise his shunt once again, which, due to the incredibly small space within which the catheter must go, keeps getting blocked.

Tomorrow he’ll undergo a second surgery to place another shunt in his spine, in hopes of alleviating the pressure in his brain.

Today, Paul is feeling much better.  I am sorry I don’t have a picture to show it.  I am incapable of figuring out how to sync photos from my phone to the laptop.  My Web Master* will hopefully attach a photo later this evening, for those of you who might be interested.  So be sure to check back.

In any case, we pray that this next surgery will be successful, but if not, we pray for the strength and courage to continue suffering this battle.  And if you think of it, would you kindly say a prayer for us too?

* Compliments of the Web Master:

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