We had a wonderful Halloween! This year Graham really was into it-he understood what was going on, he wasn’t shy and he had a blast!! Mae was wonderful at escorting him, making sure he said “Trick or Treat” and “Thank you” (and telling us when he didn’t-I so love that girl, but she is quite the tattle tale-she’ll tell on anyone for anything!) and looking out for him. Our city had Trick or Treat hours on Monday beginning at 5, which meant I had to leave work early to help get the kids ready and out. Needless to say, I did not dress up. But, we all had fun, the kids made out well and we made it home in plenty of time to have some candy before bedtime (it was a school night after all)!
Now with Halloween over, we’re all getting into Holiday mode. I’m already planning our Thanksgiving dinner and picking out the gifts for the kids (that’s my favorite part!). But, before we get to that, November also marks a very special time; my first-born son turns 15 this month! I am so very proud of that boy; he has really grown into a smart, sweet, loving guy. He has had a lot of excitement-and some disappointment this year, but he has taken it all in stride. He was recently diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. About a year or so ago we went to the doctor for a sports physical and we discussed with the doctor some “abnormal” features about Oliver. He was unusually tall for our family, with long arms and legs and a short body, he has an inverted breast bone, he has hyper-mobility of the joints (a fancy-pants way of saying he’s double jointed), slight myopia (nearsightedness) requiring glasses and teeth problems (he wears braces due to a high palate that causes his teeth to overcrowd). The doctor sent us to Riley’s Children’s Hospital to have his heart checked on the off-chance that he may have Marfan syndrome. The test was clear and we pushed the thought out of our heads.
Oliver had a great time in track that year-he tried the high jump for the first time and ended up excelling at it. He even broke his school’s record by jumping to a height of 5’3”! He won most of his competitions and, more importantly, he thoroughly enjoyed the sport. We also received an offer from a college track and field coach to work with Ollie to improve his talent. He had finally found a sport that he loved and we were all proud of his success! In anticipation of another year in track, we took Oliver back to the doctor for his annual sports physical. The doctor looked at him and this time it was pretty unmistakable, after checking him over it was determined that the odds were quite high that he did indeed have Marfan syndrome-he just had too many of the physical characteristics to ignore. We took him to a few other doctors to review his symptoms, and luckily, at this point he only shows the external physical signs-his eyes do not have any detachment of the lens or retina and his heart doesn’t show any problems typical of the disorder (no problems with the valves, dissection of the aorta or bulging of the artery walls). He doesn’t have a curved spine or a heart murmur or any breathing issues either. Unfortunately, he will have to endure a lifetime of tests to keep a watchful eye on these things so that any problems can be addressed immediately. And, probably more disappointing to him than anything else, his physical activities are extremely restricted, which means that track is going to be off-limits. He has broken his lower right arm twice, both times requiring surgery and he has metal plates attached to both of the bones in that arm, and he broke his left arm once, requiring surgery, but no metal plates. This can be attributed to the Marfan syndrome-because the connective tissue is not as strong as it should be, it allows the bones to grow longer than they should, resulting in less dense, weaker bones. Suffice it to say, he is a fragile kid! With the potential for heart issues, and his history with bone breaking, we just cannot allow him to risk his health for a sport, no matter how much he loves it or how good he is at it.
That is a lot for any almost-15-year-old to swallow, but he’s taken it well and with a great deal of maturity. I still remember looking at his face on the day he was born-almost 10 days past his due date!-and meeting him for the first time. He was so sweet and wonderful, even then; he was a great baby and he has grown into a great person. I am so very lucky to have him, Julius, Mae and Graham in my life! I don’t know what I did to deserve these wonderful creatures-each one of them making my life complete in their own special way-but I am so happy to have them and wouldn’t trade them for anything!!