Is It Summer Yet?

We’ve been seeing so many fun graduation and end-of-the-school year celebration posts on FB lately that it feels like summer has begun for everybody BUT us…Max, Olivia and Rudy still have two, 4-day weeks to finish up but spirits are high and enthusiasm is building for the carefree days of summer ahead.  Olivia is particularly excited as she has the 8th grade promotion party and ceremony to look forward to her last week of school.  Max is busy wrapping up his coursework, doing some prep for his senior year AND interviewing for his very first summer job!!  Fun stuff!  After taking a week to decompress when he got home from APU, Wilson headed back to the car wash and has appreciated a couple of weeks of solid work (and the paycheck & tips that come with it).  I thought there might be a bit of an adjustment having Wilson back home again but life in the Geyling household hasn’t skipped a beat and it’s just great to be together…we’re enjoying the family fun for sure.

As is typical for us every May, there has been something significant on the calendar each day this month which has helped pass the time and keep us out of trouble.   A few of the highlights include…

Olivia’s last volleyball game of the season ended in a tournament championship. We’re grateful for her fun experience and positive coach!
Max and Rudy had a birds-eye view of the final playoff game. 🙂
Later that week, Wilson and Rudy joined us for Olivia’s induction into the Nat’l Jr. Honors Society at her Junior High School.
Last weekend we hosted a reunion bbq with a posse of neighborhood girls that have been friends since Kindergarten at La Patera!! Although they all branched out and widened their circle of friendships in Jr. High, they have remained friends all these years…and these are the families that surrounded our family in so many ways the year Rudy was in the hospital…so special…forever grateful!!
We had the joy of hosting our church’s annual baptism ceremony last weekend as well. I’m not sure we’ve ever hosted as many people at one time as we had people packed around the pool and standing in planters (ha, ha!) but it was such a sweet time and it made me so thankful for all of Rolf’s hard work turning our home into a comfortable place to share with others!
The recognitions continued for Olivia this week at the 8th grade Student Awards Night at GVJH. She was awarded for her excellence in performance and attitude from the Physical Education department. I told her I was doubly in awe of her because that isn’t an award I would have been even remotely considered for, well,…EVER!! 🙂 Well done Olivia!
Rudy and his special ed schoolmates enjoyed a field trip to the bowling alley this week and it just so happened that Aunt Cora was visiting us from Alabama too!!!! How cool is that?!?!
Being goofy with Aunt Cora!


A little big sister love for Rolfi!

As for Rudy:

I mentioned in our last post that Dr. Harake (SB) and Dr. Dan (UCLA) were discussing whether or not to schedule a cath this summer.  Dr. Dan felt it was important to discuss Rudy’s case with the team of docs at UCLA and revisit our treatment plan before scheduling another cath.  He called Rolf yesterday and rather than paraphrase, I’ll just share Rolf’s email to me below:

“Got a call from Dr. Dan at lunchtime today.  Since I was walking to a restaurant I scribbled notes but wanted to write out the substance here to make it as clear as possible.

 He wasn’t sure anyone had ever communicated back to us after their presentation of Rudy’s case at conference earlier this month.  He said it was a very thorough presentation and extensive conversation—not just a quick review.  He also said that his disposition going into it was not to do a cath anytime soon as there didn’t seem to be a pressing reason to do anything invasive.  That opinion changed with input from the other docs—Dan said he basically talked himself into doing a cath.

 To give perspective he said that, immediately after hearing the presentation, Laks wondered aloud why there would be any need for discussion—the next step is a Glenn.  He hasn’t had it and he’s blue.  That’s what needs to happen.  That’s when people around the table countered with Rudy’s history—even though that was a long time ago and he’s a very different patient, they would still view him as a very high-risk surgical patient.  Additionally, there would need be a huge cath to coil all kinds of collaterals to get him to where he needs to be for surgery.

 Dan doesn’t feel like that would be a good reason alone to do the cath.  The most pressing reason is the Sano—it’s extremely small.  It was sized for a newborn heart that’s grown and now sustains an active child.  Additionally, it continues to get narrowed by the usual tissue accumulation, etc.  This would be the most pressing reason to do a cath.  While they’re there, they would obviously want to get a good look at all the pressures and take care of some collaterals and anything else that might move Rudy toward a surgery.

 Probably the most pressing issue surgically is a Tricuspid Valve Repair.  They feel the leakage there is significant and impacting function of the heart.  If they were going in to do the repair, they would also have to take a good look at doing some kind of modified Glenn, but that again would be driven by really good information obtained via a cath.

 He said that he spoke to Bilal about all this and says there’s agreement.”

So, I’ll give Dr. Harake’s office a call on Tuesday and start the process of getting a cath scheduled some time in August,  I hope.

Although the “big picture” discussions the last 6 years have centered on whether or not to attempt the Glenn or, instead, focus our energy on the heart transplant process, the reality isn’t that straight forward.  It is becoming more and more clear to us that if and when Rudy becomes a candidate for any of the “big” surgical interventions,  it is going to require a process of preparation to get him ready whether it be a series of caths to coil a literal road map of collaterals that have sprung up or an open heart surgery to replace his Sano Shunt & repair a leaky valve.  It can feel a little daunting when you consider each step in the process holds it’s own set of risks and we’re not even talking about the BIG risks that come with the treatment goals we’re trying to get Rudy to ultimately.  It’s also hard to have these conversations when watching friends like Owen battle through those very risks as we speak.  Ugh, looking at the big picture is heavy and it makes our hearts ache (literally) but we can’t stay there too long…our focus needs to shift back to “what needs to happen today?” and trust that we’ll know how to navigate tomorrow’s needs when they come.  As always, we appreciate prayers for peace and wisdom in the process.  Will you add Owen to your prayer list?  He is stable but still in critical condition after a cath earlier this week…a clot in his stent almost took his life on Wednesday and he is now on the top of the list for a second heart transplant!  He and his family have a long journey ahead on an all too familiar and frightening road and we want to help extend their circle of support.  You can click on his name above to get to their family blog or find him on FB (Owen’s Superhero Heart).

Finally, I ask that you add my mom to that list as well…poor Grandma Jo fell a week ago Friday and had surgery to repair multiple fractures in her leg on Monday.  She is now settled in a rehab facility in Lenexa, KS and starting the grueling work of recovery.  No word yet on how long she will be at the rehab facility but it will be long enough that patience and grace will be required.  I know she’d appreciate prayers for strength and pain management at this point too…she’s pretty tired and uncomfortable after her “work outs”.  It’s hard to be so far away in times like these.  Thank you for sharing in lifting her up in prayer dear friends!!!

Kinda feelin’ like summer can’t come soon enough!  Sending you our love and gratitude from the breezy central coast!!!



Summer Is Here…for ONE of us anyway!

Mother’s Day weekend was marked by a trip down to LA to pick up Wilson and all of his stuff for the summer!!!  Woo Hoo!  It’s hard to believe that he has a year of college under his belt already but I’m glad the year went by so fast.  😉  We’re enjoying being together again…especially Rudy who has his roommate back.

Wilson had a good first year at APU…with his trademark enthusiasm, he made a lot of great, new friends, rocked his coursework and excelled in the ROTC program.  Although his scholarship didn’t require a commitment until the end of his sophomore year, Wilson came home at Christmas convinced the military is what he wants to do so he signed his Army service agreement this past winter.  It’s official.  I’m proud as well as a little concerned but very much comforted by his thoughtful process.  He knows (to the extent he can) what he is committing to and he is excited about his future.  He heads to Fort Knox, Kentucky later this summer for a month of training so we are taking full advantage of his being home now.

Wilson and his official military ID card.
Rolf and I got an “oh, by the way” text from Wilson last month with this picture.  😉  It turned out to be quite an honor as only one ROTC cadet in each grade is given the APU President’s Award…
…we are proud of his hard work and dedication.
May 7th – MOVE OUT DAY!!!!
A celebratory lunch with friends at The Hat!
Maxo couldn’t join us on our little road trip down south because he was busy taking the SATs on Saturday but the bros finally reunited later that evening!  (Wearing their matching hats…how cute.)

With Wilson home during the day, my brain is shifting to “summer mode” but I can’t quite go there yet as Max, Olivia and Rudy still have a little less than a month left on their school calendars.  We did, however, have our annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner on Monday which is a big indicator that the end of the school year is near.  Ha Ha  What a special time we had with two of Max’s teachers from DPHS, two of Olivia’s teachers from GVJH and 4 from “Team Rudy” at Mountain View Elementary & their families!!!  There is always much to celebrate and the folks we honored on Monday have been key to the kids’ successes this year…and what amazes me and Rolf is that they are just a small representation of an even larger community of quality, committed people who are investing and making a difference in the lives of our kids on a daily basis.  Yay TEACHERS!  Yay School Nurses and Therapists and Aides! Yay Administrators and Staff!  We are deeply grateful!

Teacher Appreciation Dinner 2016

And so, we are in the final stretch.  Max is feeling the heat, especially, with his AP and SAT Exams this month.  He has actually handled the added academic stresses of the junior year with great confidence (and his trademark humor) which has helped to diffuse my anxiety for him!  Ha Ha   He is starting the college search process and it’s all very exciting…we’re looking forward to watching where his search will lead!

Max getting into the spirit on his AP US History exam day!!

Olivia wraps up her volleyball season this weekend.  She has her eye fixed on high school sports for next year…although she has expressed interest in cross country, soccer and volleyball in the past, she’s not sure what she wants to pursue so we’ll see…there are a lot of fun changes and new beginnings ahead for our girl!  ‘So excited for her!!!

The Killer Kiwi Tournament Champs!


And. then. there. is. Rudy. 

Rudy has a new nickname at school…Rudy the Rascal!!!  He has been sowing some wild oats this spring with silly antics from time to time that make it hard for him to focus on his school work. Now that Wilson is home, Rudy is even less interested in school.  Every day this week, as we headed out the door in the morning, he stood in protest announcing “I stay right here!”.  Ha Ha  I think he may be experiencing a little spring fever too…a break from his normal routine this summer will do him some good. 

We had Rudy’s bi-monthly check-up with Dr. Harake today…the first of a string of appointments this next month with ALL of Rudy’s specialists as well as trips to the pediatric dental clinic and the pediatric heart clinic at UCLA.  It will be good to check-in with everyone…especially with those specialists we see only twice a year.  

MEDICAL UPDATE:  Rudy’s heart status remains about the same.  Dr. Harake did note that his last blood test on April 26th showed his hemoglobin level is high at 20 (a normal hemoglobin value for Rudy’s age would be on average 13.5).  When I asked him how high is too high, he said anything above 20…so he’s at the outer limit.  Rudy’s high hemoglobin level is to be expected with his condition as his body compensates for the lack of oxygen.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a medication to treat him.  Dr. Harake said that in extreme cases, there is a procedure where blood is extracted and replaced with fluid but he has not done this on a pediatric patient.  It’s concerning but we have some time to research and gather our thoughts before we go to the heart clinic on June 16th with our questions.    It looks like it also may be time to schedule another visit to the cath lab.  It has been almost 2 years since Rudy’s last cath and Dr. Harake would like to get some detailed information on how well his shunt is performing and coil some more collaterals.  Dr. Dan just called from UCLA (after talking to Dr. Harake) and advised us to get the cath scheduled but he wants to round table with Rudy’s surgical and cardiology team to determine if a cath is necessary at this time.   We so appreciate Dr. Harake and Dr. Dan and their team effort in all things regarding Rudy.  We’ve enjoyed a relatively long procedure-free season so a summer filled with medical consults and a cath makes sense if we end up heading in that direction.  We’ll keep you posted.  Bottom line, we’re praying for physical stability and joy for our boy wonder in whatever the summer holds for him.

Speaking of joy, Rolf captured this little video clip of Rudy at church on Sunday…’LOVE IT!

We sure do appreciate your continued prayers…for Rudy’s health and strength especially. This past major illness-free winter was such a gift and I pray his good health continues through the summer as well.  Thank you dear friends!