Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday, July 31st

Hello to All. Summer is quickly disappearing and school will start before we know it. Clay has had a busy summer so far. The week after school was dismissed he went to the Pakland Burn Camp. This is Clay's third burn camp and I am pretty sure he will refuse to every miss it. He loves being there and feels comfortable with all the folks and activities. I think he just likes being his own boss without Mom or Dad around to tell him what to do. Shortly after returning from camp he figured out a way to head to South Texas for a brief visit with Grandma and Pappy. 5 weeks later we finally talked him into coming home for a couple of days. I believe he was on the beach or the fishing pier everyday he was at the coast. We all went down over the 4th just to visit him but he did not come home with us. We finally encouraged him to spend a couple of days at our house before convention. We all went to Happy and the weather was so nice that Clay only had to use the cool room a couple of meetings and was able to sleep with his brothers in the barn. Another sign that he is growing up. He was scheduled for surgery on Monday July 22nd. We had this on the calender for a while and had made all the arrangements and plans that go with one of his procedures. We arrived in Dallas late on the night of the 21st and were at the hospital at 5:00 a.m. on the 22nd. As they wheeled Clay out to go to the O.R. we could tell he was nervous. About 45 minutes later they came to the waiting room and said Clay had an upset stomach and the anestheseoligst had canceled the procedure. The surgeon was not happy and neither were his parents. We have had this problem before and we know that Clay gets anxious. Upon release, due to his upset stomach, he ate three large pancakes, two over easy eggs, and some bacon. Good thing he was not too sick. The surgeon knew that we needed to get the procedure done before school started so Clay would have time to heal. He told us he would reschedule as soon as possible. True to his word they called on Tuesday and scheduled for Thursday the 25th. He ordered a pill for Clay to take upon arrival in Dallas. It worked well and the surgery went off with out a hitch. In surgery they took a piece of skin from the back of Clays neck and recovered his chin, this should help his bottom lip that was being pulled down. They also cut along the top of his throat in front and removed a fatty layer from the skin flap that covers his throat. This piece of skin was from his thigh and was loose or baggy on his neck. We went for a followup appointment Monday and everything looked good. When they unwrapped the bandages I told Clay I could see his new chin. He asked for a mirror and I think he approved of the new look. We do appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, and inquiries for and about Clay. We hope everyone is well, and we wish you good days. Take Care, The Fites

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday March 07, 2013

Been a long time since the Fite's have posted.  Sorry if anyone feels deserted.  I am mainly adding information so we can keep up with procedures.  They will never become common place but we have not been very diligent in reporting.  Clay had a tissue expander in his scalp under his hair for the majority of last summer.  We had a plastic surgeon that was planning to move the hair and rebuild one of Clay's ears.  We received a call unexpectedly in the middle of the summer and the surgeon we had been dealing with was dismissed from staff and we were handed off to a new surgeon at Children's hospital in Dallas.  The new surgeon was very helpful and ultraconservative.  He stated that he would not have done the ear or the hair.  He offered to finish the hair project but told us he was not comfortable doing the ear and his heart was not really in doing the hair.  He encouraged Clay to consider a wig and artificial ears.  Clay was not willing to consider either one. (Surprise)  To bring this chapter to a quick close Clay went in for surgery the day after school started last year, August 28th, and they moved the hair back nearly to the crown of his head.  After the surgery the doctor told us Clay should be able to make his own decisions about future procedures.  He is 9 years old.  Do you think a 9 year old would ever choose to have another surgery after the first 45?  Chapter closed.  We did a follow up burn visit with our old friends at Parkland just to receive some other opinions and see what our options were.  Parkland has a new doctor on the burn staff that trained at Shriner's in Galveston and had spent the last several years at Brooks Army Medical in San Antonio.  You can imagine what he has seen and experienced over the last few years with soldiers from the wars.  He evaluated Clay and made several suggestions that were both intriguing and encouraging. On February 25, 2013 we returned to Parkland for the first time and the new burn doctor did extensive work on Clay's left hand.  The morning of the surgery he came in pre-op and told us everything he was planning to do to the hand.  He was very upbeat and said, "this is going to be fun."  Clay looked at him like he was crazy and said  uh-uh.  He straightened two of Clays fingers out and put deep pins in three to hold them in place. He deepened the web space between the fingers and released the burn scars that were contracting in the palm of his little hand.  He also released some skin around the thumb and extended it to the out side part of his hand, all with the intent of giving Clay more grasp and improving the function on his left hand.  Clay was able to go home from Parkland the same day as the procedure and has to keep the pins in for six weeks.  He was extremely disappointed that he had to sit out the last weekend of his little dribbler basketball games.  It was very painful for him for several days but in typical Clay fashion he has accepted it and not let it slow him down much.  He had a follow up appointment today and his class was going on a field trip he did not want to miss so his mom let him ride the bus to Ft. Worth for a visit to the Omni and then picked him up and rushed him to Dallas for an appointment at burn clinic.  All and all Clay is doing well and has all the energy and likes and dislikes of a typical third grader.  The new doctor at Parkland is going to assume care for Clay and we will probably consider another procedure sometime this summer.  Hope this note finds everyone well.  Thank you to all who have cared and or prayed for Clay through the years.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 14 Surgery Update

Hello to everyone. I wanted to pass along some details on Clay's most recent procedure. On Monday the 12th Clay spent nearly 10 hours in the operating room at Children's Hospital in Dallas. This was a scheduled procedure and had been planned for quite a while. We checked into the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and at 6:00 p.m. Clay had not come out of recovery. It was a long wait for Mom and Dad so I hope it went quickly for him. This will not be a short post because I will attempt to describe everything that was done while Clay was in the O.R. Clay's day started with a visit from a surgical dentist. It seems that being in a burn unit for four months plus copious amounts of antibiotics over the last three years have not been kind to Clay's baby teeth. He has the added problem of not being able to open his mouth wide enough to floss. The scar bands around his mouth will not allow it. The dentist extracted four baby teeth and capped 8 more to insure he can make it until the permanent arrive. All of this had to be done under anesthesia because the mouth had to be forced open for him to access the teeth. When he finished up our plastic surgeon took over. He placed two tissue expander's under the hair on Clays head between the skin and the skull. These will be injected with fluid to attempt to move Clays hair back far enough to cover the crown of his head. After this procedure was completed they made incisions over Clays ribs and harvested cartilage from two separate spots. They then took this harvested cartilage and started the process of building Clay a left ear. This cartilage was formed into an ear shape and placed under the skin or scalp in position to create an ear. It will be left under the skin until it has healed and grown over, at that point they will go in and separate from the skull and hopefully there will be the start of a new left ear. One interesting part of the surgery was the fact that they harvested more good tissue than they needed for this ear so they , "banked" some cartilage for later use lower down on his head. When the ear was completed they went to work on his face. Dr. Trussler opened up both side of his mouth and attempted to work around his chin and nose doing releases and shaping in both places. They also worked on Clay's right eye which was starting to pull down a bit from contracting burn scars. If you think all that I mentioned was enough you are wrong. When Dr. Trussler finished up the plastics hand specialist went to work on Clay's left hand. The burn scars and amputations on Clay's left hand were pulling down and preventing Clay's hand from growing. The palm of this hand was much smaller than his right. Initially they had planned to open up his left palm and pocket or sew it on to a patch of good skin on his abdomen. His had would have been attached to his stomach for a minimum of three weeks. We were worried about this because three weeks can be a long time for an adult and an eternity when you are eight. When they started the hand procedure they decided that Clay did not have enough unburned skin on his stomach to attach the hand to and they opted to take a full thickness skin graft from his left thigh and rebuilt his palm with it. They also put pins in his thumb and middle finger to help straighted and spread these two digits hoping to give him more range and a wider griping area. This hand was then placed in a cast and all surgeons wrapped it up for the day. After being under anesthesia for approximately eight hours our surgeon elected to place Clay in the Intensive Care Unit overnight. He said that due to the length of time and the many different procedures he wanted to use extra caution with Clay after surgery. Mom and Dad are allowed to stay in ICU and we did on Monday night. Clay was moved Tuesday morning to a room on the plastic surgery floor for an additional day of care and observation. He was released today a little before noon and he is making his way to South Texas to spend the rest of his spring break recovering at his grandparents home with his brothers, and cousins on spring break. Mom is going too just in case she is needed. There have been many people praying for Clay before, during and after this surgery, we would like to say thank you because your thoughts, kindnesses, and prayers are always needed and appreciated by the Fites.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brief Update February 14, 2012

Hello to all. Little did we know, three years later, we would still be posting surgery & progress updates on Clay. I know we have been negligent in posting but the Fites have been extremely busy as of late. On Sunday January 29th we had plans to attend meeting in Ft. Worth and then go to the afternoon performance of the Ft. Worth Rodeo. Best laid plans do not always work out. When we awoke Sunday morning Deidra commented that Clay had a blood blister on the side of his head. He had an area the doctor was concerned about and that we had been keeping an eye on. I asked to see his head and quickly decided he did not have a blood blister but determined the skin had split open on the side of his head and what we could see was exposed tissue expander. We called the doctor and he instructed us to come to Children's in Dallas ASAP. We shuffled everything around and checked Clay in. On Monday afternoon they did surgery to remove the expander and advance the hair back on his scalp. He came through with flying colors and was able to head home on Tuesday with a drain tube placed under his scalp. Junior steers went into Ft. Worth on Tuesday and we would not have been able to get Carson and Cody's steers there without a lot of help. All seems to be going well now and Clay is back in school and doing fine. You can see in the previous post the expander before the surgery. The morning after the procedure Clay asked to see a mirror. I gave him one to look into. He said he did not like the way his head looked because it was too flat. We thought it looked great and the doctor did a wonderful job with the hair. I am sure Deidra will post more with more details when she has a moment but we are preparing for special meetings and have had some welcome company. I thought I would post this before time and the procedure escaped me. Take Care.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January 4, 2012 Happy New Year!

Larisa and Clay

Here is a picture of the PA cleaning the tissue expander

port before inserting saline into expander. As you can see,

the skin is expanding and the doctor can then surgically stretch Clay's

hair further back on top of his head.

Did you begin to think that we were not going to post on Clay's blog again? We haven't forgotten, just haven't taken the time to update for about 3 months!! I began to think that I might need to tie myself to my computer chair so that I could sit down long enough to post an update. Of course, it's always hard to remember all that has happened (during the past 3 months) when I procrastinate like this.

Hmmmm?? Where to begin? Last year (2011) seemed to fly by faster than the year before. It's hard to believe that it has been almost 3 years (Feb 14, 2009) since Clay's accident. Three years ago, we were wondering if we would/could ever survive such a tragedy. Here we are in 2012, and Clay is thriving - thanks to God!

Chance posted our last update on October, 14th. I'll give a few highlights of the past months. This past October, Clay had the privilege of meeting Larisa Hertz at one of our church conventions. Larisa was burned in an accident in the Fall of 2009. She & her family have become very special to us; as, she can empathize with Clay and vise versa.

* Carson turned 13! We now have a teenager in the house and a son who is now taller than me (mom). If he grows into his long feet, he'll soon be taller than dad.

* We were asked and invited by The Transplant Services Center of UTSW Medical Center to attend "A Celebration of Thanksgiving For the Gift of Transplantation Medicine". Clay was recognized as a "skin donor recipient" (during Clay's first few weeks in the Burn ICU, his burns were covered with cadaver skin until the doctors could graft his own skin over the burns). It was very touching as the families of the donors were recognized. We had an interview with channel 4 (Dallas); then, Chance & Clay said a few brief words of thanks onstage. We had a pleasant surprise in that we had the opportunity to meet LTC (Ret) Brian Birdwell who is also a Texas State Senator. He is a burn survivor; as, he was in the Pentagon on Sept.11 during the attacks. His book, Refined by Fire, is a soldier's story of 9-11. He also has "Face the Fire Ministry" in Granbury, Texas. We also had the opportunity to meet his wife and brother(a Tarrant County Judge). Very special!

* We spent the Thanksgiving holidays on the Texas coast at Pappy & G'ma's.

* We were also invited to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. Katie Crosbie, from Channel 3-Wichita Falls, invited us to attend and gave us tickets. Clay was taken on stage at the end of the concert, took a bow with the band, and was given an electric guitar signed by the band. The boys also received T-shirts and CD's. That was an exciting evening for the boys!


* Busy month with the holidays, etc.

* Most of Chance's family lives within an hour from us. We spent Christmas eve/day with his family. We didn't have to travel far. We made a couple trips to Dallas for Clay's tissue expansion. My older sister and her family spent New Year's eve/day with us.

January: Here we go....into a new year.

* Our county stock show will be held in two weeks; and then off to the major shows. Cody has been looking forward to showing again this year.

We had an appointment in Dallas yesterday. Clay's doctor put another dose of saline in his expander (we have been driving to Dallas every two weeks for this). We discussed Clay's next surgery & have another appt. in two weeks. His next surgery may entail: 1. moving expanded hair further back on his head 2. taking rib cartilage to reconstruct his ears 3. more work on left hand. We will discuss a surgery date at his next appointment.

Life is precious and Clay's positive disposition inspires us! Happy New Year to all!

~The Fite Family (Chance, Deidra, Carson, Cody & Clay)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Good Morning,

Time seems to fly by and we apologize for taking so long to update. Clay underwent surgery on Thursday September 29th. This was the procedure that was canceled earlier in the month. The doctor worked on his hand , mouth, neck, and head. At this point he is back in school and seems to be doing fine. The second graders have a competition for UIL story telling. Clay is trying out for the team. I bet if he could tell about his life experiences he has more than the average second grader to draw from. He is excited about this opportunity. He will go back to Dallas on the 17th of this month for his first injection into the scalp expander. The doctor plans to put 400 to 450 cc of fluid in between now and Christmas. The next surgical procedure will be to move the existing hair around on his head. I hope this short note finds everyone well. We are thankful to all who pray for and encourage Clay and our family. Take Care

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hello to all. It has been sometime since I posted on the blog but I wanted to update everyone on Clay's non procedure yesterday. As some of you know Clay was scheduled for his first surgery of the new school year on Monday the 12th. The doctor planned to place a tissue expander under his scalp to start the process of covering his head with hair, work on his left hand to open up the webbing and increase the use of his fingers, and work in and around the mouth and chin to release some scar bands that continually pull his lower lip down and prevent him from opening his mouth very wide. To sum it up quickly, it did not happen. We arrived at Children's hospital in Dallas at 7:00 a.m. Clay was quickly checked in and we went to the pre-op room to wait our turn. Clay loves the hospital because it offers some amenities he is not accustomed to at home (Cartoons) Clay watched and waited patiently and contentedly for over three hours until his doctor came in to prep and analyze him for surgery. When the doctor entered the room Clay's demeanor changed instantly and he realized the fun was over. As the doctor left and the nurse prepared to wheel him to the O.R. Clay told Deidra and I that he felt sick. We assured him it was just nerves and he would be fine. We told him it was just like all the other times and he would go to sleep and we would be at his bed when he awoke. The older he gets the more he dreads the procedures. They wheeled him of to the OR and Deidra and I went down stairs for a cup of coffee. We no more ordered our drinks and were seated when I received a call saying the physician needed to see us. We rushed back up and the surgeon met us and said there was nothing to worry about but Clay had become sick at his stomach upon the onset of anesthesia. He was of the opinion it was nerves and wanted to proceed but the anesthesiologist would not proceed with the surgery for fear of aspiration if Clay was ill again. Procedure canceled. We were told they wanted to observe Clay for a few hours to make sure he was OK. When we went in the recovery room he was more than OK. He was sitting up ready to eat Jello, Popsicles, Apple Juice, Etc. and asked when we could go eat and go home. We asked him if he was nervous about surgery and he said yes and he thought if they put the expander in his scalp he might not be able to swim at spring break. Mom told him if we did not have this done now he may miss an entire summer of swimming. We are waiting on a new schedule, apparently O.R. time stays pretty booked. We are going to try a different approach and premedicate in the pre-op room to see if we can ease his mind a little until they get him asleep. All things happen for a reason and apparently yesterday was not the day for Clay to have his surgery. I hope all is well in your part of the world. We will add more details and a date for round two when we learn more. Take Care.