Last week was a typical roller coaster in the Finn world. We are enjoying the ride, though. I have always loved learning, and this is a season of much growth in that area! We had appointments with 3 of his specialists last week: the audiologist at Hearts for Hearing, the newest addition to his care team – the Pediatric Gastroenterologist at OU Children’s Physicians and the Pediatric Endocrinologist at OU Children’s Physicians. We were lucky to get the last 2 scheduled back to back, since they were in the same building!
I have to take a moment to remark on OU Children’s. You know us, we bleed orange! When Finn was in the Hospital side of OU Children’s a couple of years ago for 8 days with RSV, we made sure to wear a spot of orange every day! I remember my dad had a rough time coming to the campus to see his grandbaby because of all the crimson and the signage. But, I have to brag on them. REMARKABLE. Best hospital and clinic experiences I have ever had. I remember feeling that way during that stay, but our new encounters have reinforced this. We are completely blown away by the level of care, the compassion and the service at this hospital! Every time we have seen our Endo and this time with the GI each physician has spent 30+ minutes with our family addressing all of our concerns. It’s so comforting.
On Tuesday, we made our way to Oklahoma City to see Miss Sara at Hearts for Hearing. She has been seeing Finn since he was 6 months old. In that time, he has never completely passed all the parts of the hearing test. He has had lots of Sooner Start interventions, visits with the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor including 2 sets of ear tubes, and still feel “behind” at the audiologist. Last visit (4 months ago) was the best visit we had ever had, but he still fell short, and they wanted to hear more words from him. Last week? He blew them away! He was in an excellent mood, did all their tests without any threenager drama, and PASSED THEM ALL with flying colors! We were so impressed with how well he was doing, but we don’t know what they are looking for. As we got close to the end of the testing we could tell the audiologist and the speech therapist were exchanging “knowing looks” but we were still surprised when they said we don’t need to come back unless we have problems! He has graduated from their care! So very exciting! We will miss them, but sure are proud of our Miracle for passing this hurdle!
Then, on Wednesday, we headed down to the main campus of OU Children’s Hospital near downtown Oklahoma City. We have been seeing our Endocrinologist at his satellite clinic at Mercy Hospital, so this was our first trip to the Physician’s building. Again, so impressed! Our first stop was on the 9th floor with the Gastroenterologist. He spent plenty of time with us learning about Finn and our family and out history. He asked a ton of questions, and carefully listened to our answers. He decided we are in a “wait and see” phase of Finn’s life. He definitely needs to increase his weight, but he did not seem as concerned about it as we were a few weeks ago. Finn had gained some weight since that last visit with the Endocrinologist, but he is still very underweight, and not staying on his growth curve. So, after determining there is nothing medical presenting itself at this time, the plan is to fatten him up. We got to meet with his nutritionist and she gave us some tips and pointers to get him gaining. And a list of foods for him to eat. Basically, anything high calorie and fattening. All the things Britt and I have been fighting hard to avoid! LOL! She encouraged us to slather everything Finn eats in butter or oil. Dip everything in sauces. And to supplement with calorie dense milk replacements. Our trip to the grocery store this weekend was interesting! But, is adjusting to the change pretty well. As a family, we have some bad habits to break (letting him graze is a no no!), but we will work on that after school gets out. He is definitely eating more, and he loves his new fatty diet! LOL! Another chore: keeping the 3 bigs out of “Finn’s Snacks!”
After our visit to the 9th floor, we headed down to the 4th floor to the Endocrinology clinic. Today, we weren’t actually seeing the doctor, but his RN who would teach us how to inject the daily growth hormones with Finn. We were escorted a conference room where we were educated. We learned about the drugs, about the process, and what to expect. Finn had a bit of a meltdown while we were going through all of this, but it was very to him and he had already been a long morning! We came to the clinic with a backpack full of supplies. We had a large black backpack, a big blue cooler pack, a box with a special container for the pen, a box of alcohol swabs, a box of tiny needles, a sharps container, and a box with the pre-filled pen full of hormones. This came in two shipments late last week. One box was bigger than Finn! And we had no idea what to do with any of it! But, we got excellent training! She taught us about all the pieces, and we got to practice administering the shots on this special sponge. Finn loved helping us and counting to seven as we held the pen while the medicine was administered. The, we went across the hall to all wash our hands, and it was Finn’s turn! He was having NOTHING of it! LOL! But, we made it through that first short. Not going to lie, that next night at home as we did it on our own, we were a bit nervous. We talked each other through it, and made it work! One down! We did it! WHEW
Here we are several nights later. While he doesn’t like it, he is doing OK. We made ourselves an injection site chart so we can keep rotating the place where we inject him. We have a system for storage of all our goodies. And we have a set time and location to do this. Last night was definitely the worst night. I don’t know why it seemed to hurt more, but it did. Overall, we are very proud of him. He likes to help us get everything prepared, and even through the tears he counts to seven with us! And after it’s all over, he gets to push the easy button. We have the first few nights down – and about 4,000 more to go! If the therapy works, he will have to continue it through puberty. Seems daunting, but I know it will be worth it.
I also have to mention how GREAT his siblings are being about this! Every night, it has been a family affair. We all wash our hands, we all sit together and each person has a role in preparing and administering the shots. Britt has the hard job – holding the Finnster still! The big kids help get the supplies together, throw away the trash, and put the needle (it has a cover!) in the sharps container and bring over the Easy Button for Finn to push. They help us encourage Finn and help comfort him, too. This is a HUGE change for all of us, but we are in it together!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Our insurance has denied the coverage for the injections, but there are several appeals steps to go through. In the meantime, we will continue the injections, and if the insurance choses to never support this therapy, there are foundations that will help cover the cost. For now, we are living on faith that they will see how beneficial this therapy is for Finn and acknowledge his diagnosis of SGA and Short Stature. We ask for prayers of provision for that process, then of course for our family as we continue this journey.