Monday, June 30, 2008

John and Susan's First Day in Oregon

John and Susan arrived in the Rose City just before midnight on Saturday. We were up 'til the wee hours catching up on all that's been happening in our respective lives. So good to see John again and to meet the lovely Susan!

After a traditional American breakfast of bacon, eggs, homefries, fresh-squeezed juice and assorted fruit, we were off for a tour of the Columbia Gorge. J & S are pictured here in front of the lower tier of Multnomah Falls -- The second largest in the country.

Here's Susan with her new host family -- Jeff and Heidi Van Dyke.

Susan's new favorite movie is "The gods must be crazy." Plenty of the requisite slapstick, and shot in her neck of the woods to boot!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Logan Airport

John, Jackie and Susan at the airport before saying a temporary good-bye. John and Susan made it safely onto their plane and are headed to Portland for the next four weeks. By the time Susan returns to Boston, she will be ready for surgery on her abdomen and chest area. While it was a little hard to leave, they are very excited to see their West Coast family. Stay tuned for the next phase of Susan's journey of healing.

Saturday Exercises and Reading

Today is Saturday, and Susan and John are getting ready to leave for Portland, Oregon, where they will be hosted by the Van Dyke family. During the morning, Susan does her leg exercises and then practices reading one of her favorite books, Green Eggs and Ham.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Second Clinic Appointment

This is Susan before and during her second outpatient appointment on Wednesday. Dr. Lewis was again pleased with the healing of the graft on her right leg. Susan will have to stay in her immobilizer for the next three to four weeks but is doing great. She will be back to Shriner's for her second surgery in late July. This will address her abdomen and chest area. It was a very successful day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Here is a picture of Susan, always in good spirits, even in the aftermath of intense surgery. It's easy to forget how vulnerable and sore the graft on her right leg is when she smiles much of the time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Today is Sunday and after the morning bandage change and exercises, we headed to Newton. John played in a pick up soccer game while Susan and Jackie sat in comfortable chairs on the sidelines. Thank you to Dr. Paul Levy for inviting us to join in and being such a great support.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rest and English

Still Friday, later in the day, and Susan studies English using her picture dictionary. She practices both saying and writing the words in the book. When she arrived, she did not speak any English. She now knows many words and phrases, including: "How are you?" "Thank you so much." "Welcome Back." "I'm sooo tired." and "I like animal crackers."

More Recovering

Today is Friday, and Susan is on bedrest, playing with her new gameboy, donated by a friend. Susan must now bend her right leg ten times, twice a day. It is extremely sore from being straight for the past four weeks but the graft is healing well. And her left leg looks wonderful.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Clinic Appointment on Tuesday

Susan had her first outpatient appointment today. Dr. Lewis checked the progress of her legs and was very happy with the results. Her left leg has almost healed and does not need to be bandaged anymore. The right leg still requires bandaging and the immobilizer. But Susan is doing great and recovering well. We are very very happy with today's results.

Monday, June 16, 2008


This is Saturday, after the bandage change. Susan was able to relax a little on the backporch, listening to her music and watching the people outside.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Clinic at Home

This is Susan in-between bandage changes. She must let her right leg be exposed to air for one hour per day and then wear the bandages and the immobilizer at all times. In this photo, the left leg's dressings have been changed, but the right leg is drying out.

Home to Recover

This is within the first few hours at home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The day has arrived. Susan has been officially discharged from Shriner's and is now home in Malden. She has several follow up appointments for her legs, and then will be back to Shriner's for further surgery at the end of July. It was a long day, but so successful. Thank you all who have been supporting Susan during this phase of her recovery. We will update her progress over the next week as she slowly regains her strength.

Graft Removed

This is Tuesday, right after Susan's stint was removed. Susan was able to walk a little with her immobilizer and but needs the crutches for longer distances. She is doing remarkably well give the amount of work performed on her legs. She is happy and anxious to know if she will be discharged tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Air Hockey Finals

It's Monday night, the night before Susan gets her stints removed and we see the results of the surgery. Rather than just sit and wait, we decided to have a little friendly competition in the playroom. John doesn't know that we let him win. Tuesday we will see if Susan can move from a wheelchair to crutches..stay tuned.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Over the weekend, a 2 year-old dog named Mona visited the kids. This was Mona's first time out as a play therapy pet, and she did a great job. Susan and the other children took turns holding her and making her howl. She never barked..only howled on command. Thank you to her family for bringing her in.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Today is Friday, June 6th, Susan's 12th day at Shriner's. Here she indulges in a burger and fries for her end of the week lunch. Today Susan went to the playroom for awhile and impressed everyone with her knitting skills. She has almost finished her second scarf. (A light one for the few cooler months in Uganda.) Susan is scheduled to have her stints removed on Tuesday, and we will know more about her discharge then. She is hoping to go home to Malden, even on crutches, next week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's Wednesday night and Susan proudly displays the homework she has been working on. Today's lesson was handwriting with a little math thrown in.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

School at Shriner's

This is Tuesday, June 3rd. Here are John, Susan and her teacher, Kristen. This was the first time Susan ever used a computer and she mastered the mouse very quickly. Here she is practicing her English by clicking over a picture and then hearing the word. Her vocabulary is growing everyday.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Night

Today is Monday, the start of the second week. Susan's leg grafts were checked today and she is healing well. She was able to get into her wheelchair and out of her room for much of the afternoon and then rested for the evening . Here she is watching "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman," and just about to eat dinner. Maybe not the best timing.