Our Family's Journey ~ Life With A Traumatic Pediatric Amputation Victim ~


Wow! Wow! Wow!

Let us begin with great thanks to everyone who has offered a contribution to our awesome young guy. I can’t begin to tell you how happy his friends are to be able to do something to make a difference for someone who has lived his life making a difference for everyone else.

Anthony is home, a few days post kidney surgery. He is doing pretty well- doesn’t speak of much pain from the procedure but he wouldn’t. He has been instructed to be still and rest and mend for at least three weeks. His nephrologists need this procedure to mend and be successful in order for his kidney function to be restored in order to move forward with the next major step –the Chiari procedure. This hasn’t been scheduled yet as he needs to do the right thing –stay quiet and heal –and we pray that these stints will do what they are intended to do and get his system to where it needs to be to handle what faces.

The brain surgery is a high risk surgery, highly taxing on the body, and with no guarantees of relief from his condition. We are praying and believing however that he is going to clear this first hurdle with his kidneys and start training physically, psychologically and spiritually be ready to take it on –and he’s going to have the miracle his life is in desperate need of.

There aren’t words sufficient to describe what this young man has been through in his short life- but he’s lived with this intense pain and illnesses for many years. All the while –working his way through school, always having a job, often a second job, and more importantly he has always been there for his friends. I’m not one of the guys –just a Mom who has watched this “pack” grow up together –and I know that no matter what agony Anthony would be in, if Bryan needed him –he was there –when we went through our accident with Bella, he helped Tyler through the trauma while we were at Westchester for months. If a friend broke down or had car trouble –Anthony never says no. It didn’t matter how bad his head or eyes hurt –or his kidneys were screaming- he showed up with a smile and smart wit and got it done –whatever was needed. He’s just that guy.

We are so proud of who he has become, and all he has come through and overcome in his difficult life, but I do admit, if he ever finds this fundraiser and sees what I wrote I will be locking my doors and shutting down my phone as I think he’d be mortified to know what I am writing about him! He’s a tough guy but he is loved by and has affected many in amazing ways –His friendship with Bryan and Tyler, Luc… they are funny funny  guys –in spite of all of his pain and suffering –he kept up and gave all of his heart whether it was a night of laughing or a friend in trouble –

Now its time he’s taken care of and loved back as much as he’s given of himself. We thank you so much for helping his friends make this happen.

I believe he’s going to get a little visit from BC and Tyler this weekend so maybe I’ll have a better medical update later. In the meantime, thank you, God Bless You –and those of you who are not in a position to give- your prayers are more valuable than anything. Please feel free, especially if you are not in a position to give, to share this link and get the word out… that in and of itself is a gift.

God Bless. And Bella is extremely excited to be doing this for somebody that she cares about- one of her big brothers-

I LOVE YOU ~Says Bella~Roo

 

A New Leaf


Turning a new leaf should be a title for Autumn perhaps versus Spring.. but we have arrived. I think we may be a little late instead of early but we are here nonetheless.

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of Bella’s accident, and instead of waking up feeling sad or like victims of circumstance as we have in the past; we all felt just the opposite. We were all very victorious and wanted to party and celebrate at everything that is now behind us.

There certainly remains much ahead, but why borrow problems and dwell on the unknown rather than be grateful for what we have overcome and the bridges we have already crossed? Why worry about sorrow that is unknown or may not even occor, when we have a breathing viable loving laughing child who can wrap her arms around us every  moment of every day and night!

For right this moment, we are looking forward to school letting out and spending time in our swimming pool and having friends over and pool parties and slumber parties with squealing little girls. Soccer games and turning 7, pony tails, and Sunday School, and planting and digging in the garden! Summer day trips with Daddy and Mommy and the dogs and our good friends with the new RV (ha ha). Renewed friendships with old friends of childhood who have kids of her age are now back in our lives unexpectedly and people with the shared value systems are popping up all around us surrounding us encouraging our marraige and family life.

We have one hurdle we face, wait two. We have to get through a 50-h hearing in which Bella will have to give a deposition on her bullying experience at Chatham. No big deal. Hopefully she can do that after school lets out and then that too will be behind us. And her appointment with her orthopedic to determine whether or not there will be any corrective surgery needed in the immediate future. Then we will have to decide whether or not to allow her to enjoy the summer and have it right before school starts and give her sort of a difficult start to school OR, do it now and allow her to recoup over the summer. I’m guessing we’ll give her a fun summer and tough out school ha ha.

While we have an esteemed attorney that has advised us to proceed, and Bella met with him and said she was willing to do the work, some time has passed and some prayers have transpired, and we as a family have collectively decided we wish to move forward as a family in life. A life of living in the now, in  a life of gratitude and in healing, and not in the past or dwelling on things that have “happened” <past tense>.

Letting go has to be a way of life in order to be healthy and free and happy. We’ve allowed ourselves to become bogged down with hurt and self pity, and stuck in the pain of her injury and the difficulties of the aftermath. It has affected interactions with each other, it has affected our health, and it has affected her dealings with other children and her self esteem, and our family in general. It has made us needy instead of giving, it has changed our outlook from hopeful to wistful. Ridiculous. Enough is enough.

We have a miracle among us. Yes she was hurt, badly. So what. She’s alive, and she’s lovely. Yes, she suffered some bullying and kids can be mean. She was injured physically at the hands of another child. Stuff happens. Even at school where  you think your kids are safe. She was injured at physcial therapy and almost lost her finger. She’s had a tough time… Its time to let it go, of everything, and be grateful.

Mike and I think of those babies, all of those children who have not been so fortunate… that have not made it.. or who will not make it… Kennon Ray Wilkins, Graham McGurghan, the list is way too long…these two are close to our hearts.

For today, we celebrate and know.. that while I am a bit slow.. “I get it now.” and “Thank you for bearing with me.” Thank you to the friends I have lost along the way because you made me take a look in the mirror, thank you to those who have stood back and bit your tongues and stuck with me anyways, for sake of my family…thank you to those who loved me in spite of my desperate neediness one moment and “isolationism” the next…

We are moving on. Together. Whole and In One Piece, At Peace… when we lay our heads down at night… Bella is no longer in our bed… she has long been off her meds.. and we are on our way to being of service to others.

Look out Westchester Hospital. Here we come…as we long ago promised. :)

We love you all and thank you…. for everything. Celebrate your kids! Celebrate life. Every moment is a gift. Pay it forward while you have the chance. We almost missed ours*

Matters of the Heart~


 

When we began Bellas Cause, the sole intention was to focus on raising awareness of lawnmower safety and the dangers for children within our agricultural region surrounding this matter. We will continue to share data and information as it relates to kids and lawnmowers, and Bella will still interview in various media and advocate on this subject as she has for two years.

 It is this very foundation, the amputation and lawnmower accident,that has catapulted Bella into her next life scenario and segment of raising awareness.

 We have talked openly of the dynamics within our family, and the desire to prevent harm of any other child via a tractor, lawn mower etc, we have been open versus private with our emotions and Bella’s struggles immediately after surgeries. We have shared and put our family, and a little girls feelings and life experiences out there for all to learn from. Bella has served as a hopeful example of the need to be alert and safe.

 As time evolves and she is growing up like a magical beansprout, we have been evasive in recent posts regarding a very serious and  sad situation that has taken place in her little world.

 We are naturally guarded and protective of her. Once you put something out there, you cannot take it back and she is just a small child. While she is very young, those of us who know Bella, know she is bigger than her young years and little self. Her mind is exquisitely capable and her desire to live in purpose is explosive.

Bubbles and Bella just go together....

 

She is not going to be a child who is quiet and reserved studious teenager, or introvert young adult, but she will be the outspoken dynamite on a mission to make a difference.

 

We are okay with that when she reaches age. As if we have a choice?  For sake of today, we are focusing on teaching a respectful and integral demeanor, and coaching her on the appropriate vehicles and venues in which to channel the matters of her heart.

Some people, many people, cringe that we allow her to “be” who she is, and that we don’t reign her in and shut her down. Children are to be seen not heard. People, even family, think it is outright wrong that we encourage her to address her life issues as she needs to and as she sees fit, privately, publically, or however she deems she needs to.

She is not inappropriate. She is not rebellious. She is simply, a dynamite articulate purposeful child who sees the world through the eyes with a wisdom that she can and will make a difference.

With all that life hands her, she takes it in, processes it, and then doles it back out to the world in portions of love and hope and truth. “Oh but she is a child and you are responsible for protecting her”…

Yes, we are responsible for protecting her. We must protect her truth and her heart. There are things that have happenned to her that we will not allow to be publicized until she is of major age and at that time, will be her choice of whether or not to share..  We know she will, but she is too immature at this age to make safe choices in a dangerous society -so, we do edit her and my husband and I constantly have discussions on boundaries with eachother and then ultimately with Bella.

She’s made several videos speaking of abuse she suffered at the hands of another child.. She calls him her friend and has no bad feelings but a sadness for him. She speaks of the feeling of adults not listening to her…and she speaks about feeling invisible and unheard.

We have not been able to post those videos because of the nature of what she discloses, however, we continue to video and allow her to get it out…to purge herself as she processes, so that when she is ready to truly advocate- the emotion will be removed from the facts and she will be able to talk to you~the world and the people that she loves~ from her heart and her concern for other children, for other people, young and old… about being bullied, being wronged, being hurt physically, emotionally, verbally…and how she feels sad for not just the people who are bullied or wronged, but you’ll see her compassion for the people, her perpetrator and the adults who have wronged her, and other adults that she has observed wronging other children etc… she has compassion for them- the evil-doers. She talks about how adults speak to their children, grandchildren, teachers to their students. She speaks through her perception of the ratio of size, sounds, threats, fears, including even the sound of a lawnmower in the distance, or a teacher’s tone making her feel degraded and dismissed.

I don’t know where it comes from other than God being up in her heart right big. We just listen… we don’t ask questions, we do not prompt, we listen when she asks us to…and we cut when she says cut. We are tremendously proud of her heart, her personality, her strength and most of all we are proud of her wisdom in matters of the heart. She teaches Daddy and I daily… and we look forward to sharing with you, the words of our little girl.

She was special prior to her accident… all parents know that their children are just superior to all others right? :)

God has given her a gift of speech, of heart, of compassion, of an outspoken vulnerability that we have never seen in another child of this age. She’s no prodigy child…she just simply has an explosive need to knock down the walls and confines of our family, our community, our state… she wants to talk with the President about a few things.. I believe that she will get that opportunity because she visualizes no limitations in life.

Stay tuned for both dictated blogs and self made vlogs, a chapter of Bella’s life:

Matters of the Heart~And the Cost of Being True

 

**As much as we like to remain within the walls of our home, and be left alone and quiet in our days… it would be selfish for us and a disservice to Bella- to not share the experience of life through her eyes.  She is a gift not only to us, but to everyone who has the ability to not listen, but to hear her.  **

~thank you for being here….

Time To Mow~


It feels a little bit twisted to be counting down to a two year anniversary of a horrid time- but last night that is exactly what Bella and I were doing! And it was a happy happy talk.

Just to give you a glimpse of the triumphs and hope we live:

ME: “Wow Belles, it has been almost two years already since the accident with the lawnmower! What does that feel like for you?”

BELLA: “Doesn’t feel like anything. I don’t think about it really.”

ME:”What about when you take your shoes off, or you’re taking a bath, does looking at your foot remind you?”

BELLA:”No.  I don’t like it. (my left foot) But I don’t think about anything bad or feel bad. I get mad when my shoe falls off. I want flip flops. “

ME: “Do you think you can walk in flip flops?”

BELLA: “I don’t know. I think I can.”

ME: “Then I think we should get some and try.”

BELLA:”Thanks. Can we get pink ones?”

ME:” I guess we will have to go shopping and find some pink ones.”

BELLA: “Cool.”

My thought process during the conversation is that everyone is going to see her foot in flip flops and she has already been the brunt of young childrens mean words and mockery… ugh… really? Flip Flops when you have a hard time in regular shoes? BUT…. as  a parent you have to check yourself and not project your thoughts and feelings onto your child and allow them to be free. The walls and filters I have in my mind, she does not have in hers and I don’t want to take her hostage or make her a prisoner of my thoughts and feelings.

I find it so awesome that she was a happy little princess with ten fingers and ten toes, and her feminine little self with fairytale dreams… and for about 10 months, that little girl’s perfection was shattered by just an accident… but… she wasn’t.  She was traumatized. She suffered. But her dreams, imagination, and fairytale dreams are all in tact and unscathed.

Mike and I watched her twirl around dancing on her tippy toes the other night to a Barbie Princess Movie Song.. and she laughed and twirled and all was right with her and for her. We all were smiling and laughing and loving eachother and the moment…

So this time of year, while it brings up a bile in my stomach at times, and wakes me from my sleep in a sweat or a cry, we are so grateful, so far removed, and so safe.

I think of Bella in the helicopter screaming for me when I finally arrived… and the site of the scene and the accident.. and it never ever occured to us that we would ever seek insurance monies or sue for blame.

When she was in the care of her Physical Therapist and her finger was imploded by a heavy bathroom door that closed on it and had to have emergency surgery while she was still in recovery with her recent accident, it never ever occured tou s that we would seek restitution, place blame, or sue.

And when we learned of her mistreatment at school during recess, and the abuse and physical assaults she suffered, our initial reaction was, children don’t understand their actions, their words, and how they can harm another child’s heart and mind- especially one who has been through what she’s already been through. So we instead looked to the school for answers. Where were the adults when this was happenning? Where were the aides? How could this many assaults and attacks, over this period of time, have gone unnoticed by so many different people? Impossible. Bellal went to school immaculate everyday and came home many days so disheveled and missing clothing and many days, she would get right into the tub and soak because she was soar. Her back hurt. She was bruised. She had dirt in her hair that had been so carefully groomed and braided that morning and all of her ribbons were missing and she… wanted to protect me. The same name over and over again would come up, and was mentioned to the teacher in her parent teacher journal.. and just dismissed. Maybe they felt we were helicopter parents as we were a little protective of that million dollar “foot” and her emotions and rebuilding her strength as a strong child.

Maybe we are…”those parents”… I have no shame of that. She is a gift from God~she is strong and mighty and frail and tiny all in one. God charged us to be good stewards of her heart… and to protect her mind, and direct her soul to His ways… and we do, we have, and we will. And in this instance, there is still lacking that element of desire for revenge…no desire for blame.. no. Now, we will just fight for accountability, for justice of mistreatment and dismissiveness of a request for help for a little girl.

She misses her friends. She misses her first grade teacher, and another staff member… she misses her bus driver and her friends on the bus. She waves everyday at three, but I’m not sure if anyone sees her up on the hill… missing them.

She has gained a new setting of peace and discipline in a tiny school that loves her. She is a little restless and eager to move on…if you know her you can understand she longs for big things, big happenings, great stimulation of the mind and physicality… for now her journey is safe and spiritual and this is also a gift. We are taking this time to settle her spirit before she gets ready to burst out of herself and explode her personality onto the world that hasn’t been so nice to her… She is going to shatter the happenstance with love and joy and happiness and laughter and an unstoppable mind for…. goodness sake…because that is what she is.

She is good. She is whole. She is perfect. She is love.  And she thinks you are too.

She wants everyone to know what she knows~ and we should all be so blessed to have a piece of the heart that she has so big up inside of her that she wants to give away to anyone who will recieve it…

Have a blessed day. Be safe mowing.

Ask your child not how there day was at school… but ask them “What happenned in school today? Who did you play with? What did you play or talk about? Who did you sit with at lunch?”….  and spend time in their heart and mind with them for just a few minutes. It’s better than the news… and more important than any bit of work you think must be accomplished while they are awake.

Bully Gone~Taylor Swift


Kids Can Be Cruel~ But Bella is not a victim! She will tell you not to be a victim either- and her message to come is to “Keep telling until someone listens!” “Don’t give up. Don’t blame yourself. You are still GOOD.”

 

 


Bella Discussing Lawnmower Safety.


Bella Discussing Lawnmower Safety.

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