Mason is Home!

9 08 2011

Yesterday around 6 PM we were discharged from Hopkins.  Mason’s maiden voyage in our car (and not the ambulance) was uneventful since he slept the entire way.  That was a blessing in and of itself.  The final day at Hopkins was pretty mild compared to the others, Mason got an eye exam and they drew some blood for genetic testing.  Because of the Rhabdomyoma tumors in his heart and the lesions in his brain they have clinically diagnosed him with Tuberous Sclerosis.  The disease is found in only 1 out of 6000 babies and there are less than 50k people in the USA who have this disease.  The disease is caused by a mutation of the TSC1 and TSC2 genes which are responsible for suppressing the growth of tumors in the body.  Which is why he developed the growth in his heart and brain.  All we know right now is that he has those two things, everything else is a wait and see type of thing.  He may never develop any other symptoms throughout his life, or he might, but they have no way of predicting what will or won’t happen.

Fortunately we live 30 minutes from the number 1 hospital in the country and he will be looked over by lots of specialists throughout his life.  If anything changes they will find it early and be able to treat it.  We’re going to treat him like every other kid, but we know what to look for as far as certain symptoms.  Without question we  believe it was all God that the Pediatrician and Nurse even heard the murmur that promted the echocardiagram that found the tumors.  I say that because when the Cardiologists in the hospital listened to his heart they didn’t even hear it, so we’re thankful it was caught now because this would of been much harder to diagnose in the future, and now he will have regular checkups to monitor things.


The Adventure of Mason James…

7 08 2011

Day 1: The Best Day of my life!

Mason started to make his presence known around 11 pm on August 2nd in the form of contractions.  By 3 o’clock on the 3rd we were checked in at AAMC.  From then until about quarter of 10 we waited for the green light to PUSH!  Crystal handled the contractions very well and I was amazed at how calm she remained throughout the entire process.  Not once did she yell at me, or raise her voice and even the nurses were impressed with her demeanor.  They couldn’t believe it was her first child.  Once the green light to push was given I spent the better part of two hours staring at the top of Mason’s head while Crystal did all the hard work.  At 11:52 PM on August 3rd my 7 pound 8 ounce son was born.  Waiting for the baby to be born to find out his sex was difficult but the payoff was absolutely worth it.  I was the first person to know that he was a boy, and it was awesome.  I knew I was going to be emotional, but I wasn’t prepared for the wave of emotion that came over me.  Almost immediately Crystal and I started pouring out tears of joy.  He was absolutely perfect!  I walked down to the waiting room welcomed by friends and family and even though I tried to hold it together I lost it again.  Shelly even has video.  Crystal and I ended the evening alone in the room just staring in awe at this beautiful child that God had blessed us with.



The day started like the last day ended, us being engrossed in our awesome son.  Visitors came through as well as the Pediatrician.  Everything was good and everyone loved him, he was so chill through everything and he never seemed to cry.  On the Pediatrician’s second examination he noticed a small murmur in his heart and ordered a echo cardiogram.  Murmurs are normally not a big deal but it was just a precautionary test.  A few hours later Crystal gets a call that Mason has tumors inside of his heart and asked her which hospital we wanted to have him transferred too.

BAM!   Punch in the Gut!

We both kind of lost it a bit and tears were shed, and then me being me, I jumped on google and started doing research.  HUGE mistake as that just got me even more worked up to the point of sobbing.  I never knew you could love someone you just met as much as I loved Mason and now something might be wrong with him.  After gathering myself and getting my emotions under control I spend some time in prayer and quickly had a peace that Mason was going to be ok.   From that point forward I promised myself I would have a positive outlook until I had a reason to think otherwise.  I was then tasked with telling EVERYONE else what was going on and trying to do it in a way that didn’t freak them out.  While I was able to stay strong, everyone else had their chance to cry and or freak out.  The day ended with us and some friends and family at Hopkins waiting for the rash of tests to begin on Mason so we could figure out what was going on.


Enter the term “Tuberous Sclerosis”.  All we really knew at this time was that Mason had several tumors in his heart and that they were more than likely Rhabdomyoma tumors.  In most cases when these tumors are present in the heart the patient has Tuberous Sclerosis.  For the low down on TSC go here and do some reading.

Since TSC can effect other organs in the body the doctors wanted to do tests on Masons brain, kidneys, and eyes to check for more tumors.  Everything came up clear except he has some lesions in his brain.  At this point we haven’t had the chance to talk to the head neurologist yet but from what I’ve been told so far the lesions are in a place that aren’t likely to cause seizures, but nothing is guaranteed.  TSC is something that 1 in 6000 babies are born with and the symptoms vary greatly from person to person.  Sometimes it goes completely undiagnosed, and sometimes it can have major issues.

Bottom line is the future is unknown for Mason, the tumors in his heart should reduce in size and they aren’t causing any issues with the flow of blood in and out of his heart.  As long as they don’t cause any arrhythmia he shouldn’t experience any  symptoms from them, but there is a chance that other tumors could pop up throughout his body as he gets older and throughout his life.  We’re praying that he will be fine and not experience any issues and now that we know what he has we can keep an eye out for things and he will more than likely get yearly examinations done at Hopkins.  Crystal and I will raise him and treat  him like every other child.  All we can do is love on him and thank God for every day that goes by without any symptoms.

A couple things that popped into my head throughout this whole ordeal is that James is my favorite book in the bible, and one of my favorite things to talk to people about is perseverance.  One of my favorite verses is James 1:12. “Blessed is the man perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” Shelly also found out that Mason name means “Overcomer” and she found this verse.  Revelations 2:17 “He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.”  We both have faith that Mason will overcome all of this and will live a full life.  We appreciate everyone’s prayers so far and if you’re still reading this I appreciate you taking the time .  Mason should be coming home tomorrow and Crystal and I would appreciate a couple days to just love on him and get adjusted to having him home before everyone starts coming over to see how beautiful he really is!

Thanks and God Bless,

Being the best…

20 07 2011

Every child dreams of being the best at something.  Whether it be sports, music, work and so on, kids always shoot for the very top.   All the baseball players were going to the MLB, all the basketball players were going to the NBA, and so on.   I wanted to be the best at everything, but instead I had to settle for good.  I played 3 high school sports and was on the Varsity team for all three by my sophomore  year, but I never made and all county team, or won any championships.  The closest I came to that was a second place finish in the county tournament in wrestling.  Maybe I should of just focused on one sport instead of trying to play 3, maybe it wouldn’t of made a difference.  Who knows?

At some point in my high school sports career I decided I wanted to play Lacrosse in College, and even though I was never a full time start I had convinced myself I was good enough to play Division I lacrosse and nothing else was good enough.  I played a year at a prep school where I finally earned a coveted starting spot and was recruited to play at a DI school in Connecticut.  All was good in the world, or so I thought.  A semester later and 15k in tuition and I was back home in MD registering for classes at AACC.  Apparently God had other plans for me than I had for myself.  I was perfectly fine racking up 100k plus in student loans if it meant I could play DI lacrosse!  Boy am I glad that didn’t work out, I’d probably still be paying off those loans!

I played two years at AACC, got to go to a final 4 and then moved on to Towson University (no lacrosse) and got my degree.  After I met my wife I started playing softball and I decided I wanted to be really good at that, at this point I knew being the best just wasn’t plausible for me.  So after playing a few years of church ball I decided I was good enough to play on a tournament team.  That lasted one year and I realized that I wasn’t good enough for that.  So back to Church ball I went and I think that’s where I’ll stay since we just wrapped up a championship season.

All that’s left for me sports wise is CrossFit, and I had very loft goals for that when I started too!  I was going to qualify for the games in California!  Well after 4 competitions and zero finishes in the top 10 I’ve realized I’m not going to be the best at that either.  The guys that are the best in the world at this sport are genetic freaks who never get tired, and some of them get paid to work out all day.  I’ll never have the time to dedicate to being the best at this sport so I’ll just have to settle for the other benefits, like being healthy…

The thing I am looking forward to most these days is being a father.  I feel like I can be the best Father in the world to my own child and that excites me.  I know I won’t be the best Dad in the world, but if I can be the best Dad in the world in the eyes of my own kid(s) then that is all I’ll ever need.   Even if I had become the best in the world at lacrosse, or CrossFit for anything else, I doubt it would of compared to being the best Dad I can be.  I know it’s not going to be easy, and I know it’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m up for the challenge and ready to put in the work! I pray that I can achieve this new goal and the best at something that really matters…

Baby Making… Not as easy as you’d think.

13 07 2011

When my wife and I decided were “ready” to have kids we figured all we had to do is drop the birth control and have sex and 9 months later we would have our own little bundle of joy.  And while we have friends who can get pregnant at the mere thought of sex, that wasn’t the case for  us.  It took us almost 3 years to achieve our goal and in a few weeks we should be able to finally meet our little one.  One thing we learned along the way is that it’s not  uncommon for it to take 1, 2 or even 3 years for a couple to conceive, some people are really efficient at making babies, and some aren’t.  After 1-2 years the Doctors will start to run tests on both the male and female and a lot of times they will come back and you guys are both “normal”.  So if you are normal why aren’t you conceiving?  Well one thing I stumbled across is my reading and podcasting about the Paleo diet is that a lot of women who started to eat Paleo got pregnant, and most times not planned.  It’s actually a bit of a joke on the podcast I listen to.

So how can what you eat have any effect on your fertility?  Well the stuff we eat causes all kinds of stuff to happen in our bodies.  I’m not smart enough to articulate all the science and body chemistry, but when you eat certain foods (mainly grains and vegetable oils), it promotes inflammation throughout your body, and inflammation is the leading cause to almost every auto immune disease out there.  Eating grains as well as other carbs can lead to poor insulin sensitivity which also moves you in the direction of Type II diabetes.  If you want to learn about science behind all of this google Robb Wolf or Mat Lalonde and Paleo or just by Robb’s book off Amazon.  Below are three links, two of which are personal testimonies from women who weren’t able to conceive before going Paleo, but did afterwards.  I’m not saying this is for everyone, but it’s a lot cheaper to give this a shot first before you have to resort to fertility treatments.

The whole 9 site has a ton of other information about paleo along with a “Whole 30” challenge.  Here is a link to a ton of real life testimonials about other benefits people experienced from eating paleo.

There is also new research out that states how important diet is for a baby while in utero. Here is a quick snippet from that article:

“In fact, some researchers now believe the 9 months of pregnancy are the most consequential period of our lives, permanently influencing the wiring of the brain and the function of organs like the heart, liver and pancreas. They also suggest that the conditions we encounter in utero shape everything from our susceptibility to disease, to our appetite and metabolism, to our intelligence and temperament.”

There is a lot of stuff to read outside of this blog post, but it’s all good information is you’re trying to have a baby, or if you know someone who is.

Kids these days

12 07 2011

My wife and I are going to be parents in the very near future (hopefully before the end of month) and because of that my mind often wanders into the realm of parenting, and how I plan to raise my kid(s).  One thing that I’ve noticed over the past few months is how many kids (and adults) walk around with head phones in their ears and completely ignore the world around them.  I understand that sometimes people just don’t want to be bothered, but if someone starts doing this at  a young enough age then they will never learn how to interact with people.  When I was growing up I constantly asked questions about EVERYTHING.  I didn’t care who you were, or how well I knew you, if I thought you had an answer to something I wanted to know about I was gonna ask you.  And because of that I learned a lot, and I learned how to talk to people.

My point in writing this is that I think if kids don’t learn to socialize with both their peers, as well as people older than them then they are going to have a difficult time succeeding in the work place.  Everyone is going to need a job at some point and in order to get a job a person has to sell themselves to an employer.  If a person isn’t comfortable talking to people then this task becomes much more difficult.  If someone is seeking a job with 100 applicants and 20 of the resumes look the same then the person who gets the job is the one who interviews the best.  Networking is also huge in the world we live in, in a lot of cases who you know is more important than what you know.  I’ve had people approach me and strike up a conversation with me because they saw my company logo on my shirt, and I’ve done the same to others.  That wouldn’t happen if I had headphones on and vice versa.

In an effort to not sound like a hypocrite I admit I occasionally stick my face in front of my iPhone and play games  so I’m not going to act like I’m not guilty of doing any of the things I mentioned above.  I just hope I don’t use video games and headphones as a way of keeping my kid(s) busy when I’m too lazy to parent them instead.  I hope I can teach them to not be afraid to ask  questions and that people are people.  I might succeed or I might fail miserably but only time will tell.

Apparently I talk a lot…

11 07 2011

Recently a friend of mine told me that I should start blogging because I seem to have a lot to say.  I think it was a nice way of him telling me to shut up.  I have spent a pretty large amount of time reading, researching, and podcasting the Paleo diet/Primal lifestyle, as well as CrossFit over the last year and this could be a place to unload a lot of that information for anyone who is actually willing to read it, which will probably be only a few.  I also have a ton of useless knowledge in my head about automobiles that might leak out as well as my usual ramblings and rants about whats wrong with the world in general. At any rate, if I can manage to take the time to put my thoughts together in an organized manner I might give this blog thing a try so stay tuned for more in the future.

Hello world!

11 02 2009

So this is my new place to write out my completely random thoughts of the day.  They will most likely range from religion, politics, sports, food, and any other random thing that pops into my head.  Hopefully I’ll actually update this on a regular basis and it won’t get lost in all the other stuff I do on a daily basis, but at least I got it started.

God Bless,