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Showing posts from February, 2009

Good news about Musa

First the Phillies won the World Series. Then Obama was elected President of the United States. And now this...

I'm starting to believe that nothing is impossible.

Musa's first surgery took place this morning at 7a.m., Ghana time. And Tom just called to tell me that the surgery was a success! Mind you, I'm hearing news third-hand from a man with a very thick West African accent, and he has received his news in 2-minute snippets over a third-world phone connection, but I'll try to convey what I got from the conversation: This first surgery was an exploratory surgery because without any medical records, the doctors needed to get a better look at what they're dealing with. They were able to identify and repair some "errors" that occurred in Musa's last surgery in Sierra Leone, and they have taken some specimens of his colon to determine how to best treat him. Hirschprungs is a disease of the nerves in the bowel, so from what I understand, they are trying …

For better or worse, it's going to happen

Well, folks, we did it -- we raised enough money for Musa's surgery. Unbelievable! THANK YOU! I really didn't think this would be possible, let alone happen so quickly. (We even have a small "just in case" amount set aside.)

Ruth has half the money in hand, and the remainder will be wired to her by Tuesday. Musa's first surgery is scheduled for Friday morning, 7 a.m.

And of course now that the frenzy of fundraising has settled a bit, I'm actually thinking rationally, and I'm feeling all sorts of nervous about this -- please let it be the answer, please let us be helping more than harming. The child has been through five surgeries already, and anyone who's had an appendix removed or a C-section knows that abdominal surgery is no picnic. Before he goes home, he will have two more surgeries. That makes seven, all told. In just 11 years of life! Oh my goodness. (Again, I can't help but think there's a bigger plan for this child, to have already over…

Moving a mountain for Musa

I have great news -- we are very close to our goal for Musa! We raised enough in just one day that Ruth can give the hospital a "good faith" payment for the first surgery. As far as I know, Musa's first surgery will take place this weekend. Then he will be in the hospital for observation for 7-10 days before having the second surgery.

We need to come up with just a few hundred dollars more to pay for the hospitalization and surgeries, and I'm hopeful that we may even come up with a small amount to give to the family for any additional living expenses Ruth incurs while in Ghana, or to help them when they return to Freetown, since she has given up her income to take her son to Ghana.

Donations have been coming in since my initial plea -- and I am so moved by the generosity people have shown. I've set up a PayPal account, too, to make it easier to donate; just click the button in the top right-hand corner of my blog.

Growing up in Sierra Leone is hard enough for even t…

Working on a miracle

There’s an 11-year-old boy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, named Musa Kabba who needs our help. I have blogged about him twice before (here and here), and although I have never met him in person, he and his family became very important to me in the fall of 2007 when they opened their hearts and home to my sister, Robyn, who was at the time a college junior living in Freetown for five months. Musa also happens to be the nephew of a friend at my church, Tom.

Musa has a condition called Hirschprung’s Disease. In the United States, a child diagnosed with Hirschprung’s Disease can often be treated with a pull-through procedure, in which a portion of the colon is removed then re-sectioned. Many children with this disease go on to live normal lives, with modified diet and good healthcare. Sadly, Musa has undergone five painful surgeries in Sierra Leone, a country where the doctor to patient ratio is roughly 1 to 300,000; Sierra Leone simply lacks the medical infrastructure, professionals, and tech…

That time of the month

No, not that time of the month (but I got your attention, didn't I?) --

The time of the month to which I refer is that time of the month in which our mortgage check has been cashed, we've paid the preschool bill for the month, we've had a costly car maintenance appointment, we've socked extra money away into our savings account because I'm afraid my job will be gone any minute, we've purchased all the groceries and gas we need to get through...and pay day is still a week away. The balance in our checkbook is ridiculously low. I'm talking double-digits low. I've put up the Spending Embargo sign.

Anyway, this week, instead of calling Big Daddy in my usual low-balance panic on Friday morning and saying "no more spending!" I called and presented him with a challenge: Let's see if we can get through this next week without spending any money out of our joint account. This means, eat only the food we have in our house; we entertain ourselves only w…

Project Musa update

(Note: There are photo images in this post that may be upsetting.)
As many of you know, I have been working for about a year now, along with friends from church, to bring a little boy from Sierra Leone here to the US for much-needed medical treatment. As I wrote a few months ago, we've had to make some difficult decisions lately about how to proceed.

Unfortunately, despite many phone calls and e-mails to various doctors, hospitals, and aid organizations around the region and across the country, we have not been able to find a hospital in this country willing to take on Musa's treatment. In addition, every professional we talked to felt that bringing Musa and his mother to the US for treatment would be far more disruptive to him and his family than it would be helpful. And, because these hospitals were not able to donate their services, raising the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would take to bring him here doesn't seem like a feasible plan in such trying economic times…

Us time

My mother-in-law called this past weekend and made an offer I just can't refuse: She wants to come down to our house once a month to play with Sweet Boy while Big Daddy and I go out. Just the two of us. Alone. As a couple of adults. Can you imagine how wonderful that would be?

I didn't even let her get the entire sentence out before I yelled "YES! YES! YES! PLEASE!" Since Sweet Boy was born three-and-a-half years ago, I can count on both hands the number of times Big Daddy and I have been out on a date. It's sad, but true. We try to go out for each of our birthdays; we went to a couple of shows at the Walnut Street Theatre when Boy was an infant; and we had a really nice anniversary dinner at Harry's Savoy Grill last year. This past Christmas, we spent an entire day together while Boy was at school -- breakfast, shopping, movie, more shopping, sitting at a coffee shop holding hands and reading magazines -- it was fabulous. And I remembered how much I really li…

Imagine the possibilities

I had to take my son for blood work this morning, at the urging of every doctor we've seen over the last month, to rule out his inheritance of the wacky lipid disorders and diabetes that his father has (and which all run rampant on his father's side of the family). Anyone who has held their child while a stranger sticks a giant needle in his/her arm know that this is horrendous. Sweet Boy was a trooper, though. Sure he cried, but he stayed still, rubbing his cheek against my cheek and sobbing, trying to sing along to "You Are My Sunshine" with me. I'm tearing up just writing this -- it was not fun.

Even more unfun than the blood draw, however, is the sickening, maddening, evil voice in the back of my brain that keeps whispering "Your baby has diabetes...your baby has diabetes..." He has no symptoms of diabetes, mind you, just these crappy genetics, so my rational brain keeps kicking the bad little voice in the crotch and telling it to shut the hell up. A…

Monday morning pick-me-up

OK, so you've heard that Puxatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and ran back into his little home. Bummer.

If you need a little pick-me up in light of this six-more-weeks-of-winter drag, try one of my favorite songs ever, "In These Shoes" by Kirsty MacColl, from her Tropical Brainstorm album. The video is so-so (well, actually the video is a bit annoying), but the song itself is just so fun -- just crank up the volume, walk away from you 'puter, and shimmy your blahs away. In fact, I recommend the whole darn album to keep the winter blahs at bay -- it's tropical and cheeky and different.

Celebrating the end of January

Because January was so hard on this family, we decided to go do something refreshing and happy to ring in February. Today was so beautiful that the only option was to spend time outdoors. We got in the car and started toward Bellevue State Park, then Big Daddy had the brilliant idea to go to Valley Garden Park. I hesitate to even share this park with you because, well, it's gorgeous and not well known, and I kinda like to think that it belongs only to us. But the cool, crisp air is still in my lungs and I'm feeling magnanimous.

Valley Garden Park, located among the sprawling homes of the "chateau country" of Northern Delaware, off Rte. 52 near Winterthur, was donated by the duPont family (of course), and unless you see it for yourself, you would not believe that such a beautiful place exists in Wilmington: rolling hills, old gnarly trees, a stream with a number of trickling waterfalls, benches surrounded by lush gardens where one can just sit and wile away the hours. …