Sam. Conqueror. Overcomer.

On the 15th May 2009, Samuel Christian made his way into this world...two month's premature and in severe respiratory distress. Within hours, Sam was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome - a very rare congenital disorder, of which little was known. The diagnosis together with the immediate challenges Sam faced to thrive became our core focus and it was with joy and thankfulness that we eventually brought Sam home, after nine weeks in the NICU.

As time pressed on, it became obvious that Sam's development was falling behind that of his RTS peers. Shortly before his 5th birthday Sam underwent a brain scan and it was confirmed by a paediatric neurologist that in addition to Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, Sam also has Cerebral Palsy related to his premature birth, as well as Autism.

This blog chronicles our journey through these challenges...
Our world has crashed, been blown apart.
This can't be happening....why us? Why now?
Your fragile life shaken before it could barely start,
How do we get through this...please, Lord, tell us how?

Drowning in our sorrow, waiting for answers that just don't come.
Our baby "special needs"? It simply can't be true!
The heartache overwhelms us, we're left feeling cold and numb.
The diagnosis tells us little - these children are so few.

But then we finallyget to touch you, to see your precious face
And all the heartache and questions fade, replaced with love and pride.
It's obvious from the very start you're showered in God's grace,
And with His love and guidance, we'll take this challenge in stride.

When once we couldn't pronounce it, Rubinstein-Taybi's become our norm.
When once the future seemed dark, we now welcome the journey as having an RTS angel brings lessons in unexpected form.

Our world has crashed, been blown apart!
This IS us.....right now!
We've been blessed with a gift, so precious from the very start. How do we get through this? Here's how.....
By believing in a God, so merciful and great,
By trusting that He's right beside us as we journey through the narrow gate.
By believing His love for us is not determined by a human frame,
By trusting that we draw Him near by merely calling His name. This precious baby we asked God for,
Prayed he'd be perfect and complete.
And, as Samuel means "God hears", He's laid His answer at our feet.

(Nicky de Beer : 27/05/2010)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Torture...pure T.O.R.T.U.R.E.

These are the words that have, very melodramatically, been delivered to me several times over the past few days by my Glee-loving, feigning dizziness, ever-putting-on-a-show daughter. On Wednesday, when we saw the hand OT at Vincent Pallotti, we could not find parking close to the hand clinic so had to park in the hospital's general parking area about 300 metres away from the entrance. I know what you're thinking...she's young, energetic and fit...or so you'd think, AND didn't have a squirmey-wormey smurf on the arm. But alas, when we left the clinic just before noon, it was quite a show she put on complete with moments of nearly collapsing to the ground with the "torture...pure torture" of having to walk so far to the car!

Yesterday was even more of a Meg-atastrophe...not only could we not find parking in the general parking area, we had to park on an upper level parking area, which meant stairs. THE HORROR!!! So again, when we left, it was amidst regular outbursts of "torture...pure torture". She really is such a funny kid. Chris desperately wanted me to take a video of her "watching" Glee the other evening (she watches each episode an absolute minimum of at least four/five!). Who woulda thought Glee was an interactive programme and required the watcher thereof to mimic every move made throughout the show. You would have thought she'd be able manage the occasional transition between hospital and car then, right? Anyway, Meg has been an invaluable help to me over the past week - it's thanks to her that Kim managed to refit Sam's splint on Wednesday, this time without hysterical screaming which meant a much more effective fit. And yesterday kept Sam occupied through pretty much our entire appointment with Dr dT, so that I could concentrate on what was being said. So I have just reserved tickets for her and and I to go watch the new Smurf 3-D movie this's a surprise, haven't told her yet.

Oh yes...our mysterious "orthopaed" appointment yesterday afternoon. I was watching an old Hillsong episode while doing my own "torture...pure torture" on the spinning bike last night. It was about negativity and how even a remotely negative outlook effects everything...our thoughts, our actions...our perceptions! Yesterday was a prime example. Here's what I was thinking : last week, when we saw Sam's hand surgeon, I had asked him about the lack of fluidity in Sam's hand movements (eg. when he waves, it is done in a series of jerks as opposed to a flowing movement) and he'd said that he thought it to be a neurological issue. I didn't prod any further because the whole appointment lasted about two hours and of course, by then, Sam was doing his own remarkably accurate impression of Grumpy Smurf. But by the time we arrived back at home the whole "neurological" thing had had plenty of time to mull around in my head and I regretted not asking for more information. Then on Friday morning, when Dr dT's assistant phoned and requested that I bring Sam in, my mind went wild and I figured that perhaps Dr C had also been giving more thought to the neurological thing and done some further investigating and come up with a gloomy diagnosis, but wanted Dr dT's opinion on it before one of them shared the bad news with me! Seriously, that is really what I was expecting. Boy, was I wrong!

The real motivation behind the request was that Dr dT had in fact been researching and considering and researching and considering...and wanted to explain to me, in person, with the aid of graphics and Sam's x-rays exactly what is going on in Sam's little left foot and what the plan is to rectify it (and, to top it off, there was no charge for the consultation). Slightly off the mark I was, I'd say. And, it comes...I am absolutely loving Sam's specialist's at the moment.

The only drawback (is there ever not one?) is that we might be doing the surgery on Sam's foot a little sooner than I originally anticipated, possibly by the age of 3/3½ which would mean May-December next year, but I was hoping to only do the removal of the right testicle around April (which would mean a eight month gap between this and the last op) but with Dr dT and Dr J (urologist) being at different hospitals we would not be able to couple the two surgeries together, so let's hope we are looking more around the 3½ yrs mark for the foot surgery. I am becoming increasinly anxious about the fact that that little right testicle is wafting around halfway to where it's supposed to be, mostly because of the reaction I get from others, mostly doctors actually, when I tell them. Perhaps we need to bump up that surgery to mid-March, depending on how much time I'll need to recover from the Argus. In fact, now that I think about it, with the Argus officially taking place on the 11th March, I might very well still be cycling it on the 15th (Yes, I do know you only have seven hours to finish)...mmmm, might need some further thought, the op that is....already have a headache just thinking about it all.

Our ST for this morning was cancelled due to an illness in ST's family, so we resume next Thursday. And of course we have little Matt & Nic's birthday parties tomorrow. Yay! for seeing our RTS family again. And, on Monday morning, it's back to PT...Yikes!

Remember this pic :
Sam in May 2010

And here's how much he's grown :

He can barely fit into the swing now and, seeing as he's become too heavy for it to mechanically swing him, he now swings himself. Did I mention that at our last paed appointment, Dr B pointed out that, taking Sam's corrected age into consideration, he is just just touching the very bottom line on a NORMAL...yes, I said it, NORMAL weight graph! 


  1. How our Sam has grown....gosh its hard to believe...........

  2. Tell Meg that Natalie walks 300 meters to school every day...some days, she walks 300 meters home, too! So exciting to be on the normal charts! Natalie is about 5-15% of normal.