Saturday, April 12, 2008

About Us


We are a blended family with 7 children, one of whom has a brain tumor. The DoodleBelle's are: Heidi, Kyley 11, Rainia 9, Jacob 5, and Joshua 5.

The Big Mac's are: Rick, Brittney 13, Brooke 13, and Andrew 10.

We are so glad that we have eachother, and God, love, joy, humor, and fun are what get us through this crazy life of hospitals and treatments, step-family issues, financial hardship, and parenting such a large family.

I, (Heidi, a single mom) and Rick (a single dad) met when I bought a car from him in April 2003. We dated for some time, and decided to introduce our children. The kids hit it off immediately, enjoying eachother's company and loving doing things together. Throughout this time, Andrew was sick, getting severe headaches, and losing weight. Rick took him to many doctors and hospitals, who kept saying that Andrew was upset over his mother, who struggles with mental illness. Andrew got progressively worse, having vision problems, refusing to eat and vomiting after every meal. Finally Rick got a doctor to refer him for a CT scan. This was August 8th, 2006. The next day, Andrew was in emergency surgery to remove the huge (baseball size) tumor that was growing on his brainstem.

When Andrew awoke, he was paralized on his right side. He had a trachiostomy, and a feeding tube. He had a permanent shunt put in to drain excess fluid on the brain. Andrew struggled in the PICU for three weeks. When finally able, he was transfered to the hospital's rehab center, where he finally after two months, through shock treatments, gained back the use of his gag reflex, allowing him to swallow food.
Throughout this time, Rick never left Andrew's side. Brooke and Brittney, Rick's daughters, moved in with me and my four children. Still unable to walk, without the use of his right arm or left eye, Andrew was released on Oct. 17th, 2006. Because he needed homebound school services and intense rehab three times per week, I quit my job at Rick's car-lot where I was working, so that I could take care of him, and Rick could return to work. Rick and Andrew moved in with what had become the seven of us, making nine.

Andrew rapidly learned to walk, and returned to school in Jan. 2006. He continued to have PT and OT, through the school, and through private practice. How wonderful he did, until the tumor started to grow again. Andrew had 28 rounds of radiation-treatments in March and April of 2007. Unfortunately, around this time a cyst began to form on his tumor, creating more and more pressure on his brain, bringing us to the first update entry.

Oh-Yeah, plus we are engaged as of Christmas Eve, 2007.

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