The Copeland Family

The Copeland Family

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ellie's Surgery

On May 19th Ellie had surgery to remove a tumor from the left temporal lobe of her brain. We were very nervous about the surgery, because there was a chance that she could have permanent damage to her speech, memory, and eyesight.
Leading up to the surgery, our family and Ward fasted & Pierce gave her a beautiful blessing.
At 6:00 we arrived at Children's Hospital in Knoxville. We were surprised by bloodwork to start the morning, which did not give Ellie a very good first impression ;-). After we got to a room, Ellie was given "happy juice." It's medicine that gives her a sense of uphoria so she doesn't care that they are wheeling her away or putting her to sleep. Then the surgery began-right at 9:00. The nurse called every hour, just to let us know that everything was fine, & give us a progress update. The surgery lasted 6 hours. We had several visitors while we waited that helped the time pass. Jennifer Plott, Connie Lyles, Pop, Grammy, Pete, Uncle Jason, Aunt Carol, Melana, Grandpa, & Liz and Austin Jones all came.
After surgery, Dr. Harris spent 30 minutes talking to us about what they found. Unfortunately they weren't sure what it was :-\. What they took out was a mass of extra brain cells that had clumped together with an area of these extra cells, in a smaller amount, surrounding it. After the Pathologist looked at it the next day, he said he thinks it is a very low grade tumor known as a Pilocytic Astrocytoma. He then sent samples to Memphis for genetic testing to hopefully confirm his diagnosis. We won't have their findings back for another week.
Ellie's recovery has been awesome! When Pierce & I went in to see her, the first thing she did was wipe off his kiss (typical ;-))! The next day, she sang 2 verses of "Let It Go!" We had expected her to lay around the first few days home, but we are having to slow her down instead.
We will go to get her stitches out on Tuesday, & hope to hear from Memphis by Friday.
Heavenly Father has blessed us so much. Ellie's recovery has been fantastic, we have been able to keep ourselves together, our family has been such a support, & our trust & love for Him has increased.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Boys Will Be Boys!

Two days after we got home from Ellie being in the hospital, April 12th, Brody broke his ankle! We had gone to our friend, Bryan's house for a relaxing cookout. Before dinner the kids were playing on a really cool swing set that they have in their backyard, when Brody said to his brothers, "Hey, watch this!" He proceeded to swing as high & fast as he could in his attempt to jump over the rail ties that border the playground. He did a really cool jump from the swing...and landed right on the rail tie! He ankle swelled so much & so quickly that by the time I looked at it, I knew immediately that he needed to go to the hospital.
So, Grammy and I made another trip to the hospital to have x-rays & a temporary cast put on his left ankle. It turned out that he had broken it right in the growth plate.
Lucky for us, we have a couple of friends from church who are doctors at Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic! We were able to see Dr. Becker & Ben Morganegg on Monday to get a permanent cast put on. He wore that for 2 weeks, and is now in a removable aircast for another 4 weeks. He's such a trooper though; he runs around as best he can and gets everyone to play catch with him :-).
When asked if he would try it again, he said, "Yeah, probably!"

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Day to Remember

April 6, 2014 will be a day we remember forever. That was the morning we woke to Ellie laying on the floor having a seizure. Pierce heard her making sounds, & went to investigate. He called to me and said, "I want to show you something." I thought, she must be doing something very cute for him to wake me at 6:00 in the morning! I quickly realized that was not the case, as I saw my baby lying on the floor, unresponsive, convulsing,and drooling.
We called 911, & while we waited, Pierce gave her a blessing. The ambulance arrived in what seemed like minutes; we were very blessed that they were close by. They rushed her to Children's Hospital with me in the ambulance and Pierce following behind. As the doctor and nurses worked on Ellie, I counted 12 in the room at one time. I also noticed that they were passing syringes to the trash by the handful. I don't know what all they gave her, I'm just grateful they did because she stopped seizing and calmed down. We know for sure that her seizure lasted 30 minutes, and was probably longer because she was seizing when we woke up. The doctors called it a prolonged, clonic-tonic seizure (aka-Grand Mal seizure). She slept until mid-afternoon.
The first thing Ellie said when she woke up was, "It's Ellie's lunch time." :-) She's not a girl that likes to miss meals! As the doctor had told us, her whole body hurt and she was unsteady on her feet for a few days.
The doctors did a CAT scan, blood work, urinalysis, & spinal tap trying to figure out what caused the seizure, & final said they couldn't find a cause. Her neurologist said we would put her on Keppra for the seizures and monitor her, but he wanted to do an MRI before we left just to rule out everything.
Ellie was put to sleep for the MRI, so I went to wait. Almost 3 hours later they called me back. The neurologist was there, & the first thing he asked me was, "Where is your husband?" I knew then that something was wrong. He showed me her scan, and the black, bean shaped tumor that wasn't suppose to be there. He also showed me a white haze around and behind the tumor. When we returned to Ellie's room, Pierce was waiting there and also had a chance to see the scan firsthand.
The next day we met with Dr. Harris, the only Pediatric Neurosurgeon in Knoxville. He spoke to us for over 2 hours and laid out all our options for treatment. Ending with his recommendation that we operate. After thinking for a couple days, we scheduled surgery for May 19th. A day that is both anticipated and dreaded.
We also met with a Neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt. He gave us the same recommendation, so we are going ahead with the surgery in Knoxville as planned.
We know this is a surgery that needs to happen, but are scared. All hope is that everything will go smoothly, and she'll be back to normal in 3 short months. The reality is that there are lots of unknowns, and this is major brain surgery on our 4 year old daughter. We are therefore, putting our trust in Heavenly Father. He will only give us what we can handle. I have already learned so much from this experience, and I am willing to learn whatever I need to...I just hope it's not too much ;-). I know more than ever that we are amazingly blessed with generous, thoughtful friends and family. I also know that Heavenly Father knows me and my family, & that Ellie is his daughter too.
Please pray for our family.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Draven's Acting Debut!

Draven, who has loved acting, movies, etc. for years, made his stage debut this month! He is playing the role of Dr. Chilton in Knoxville Children's Theater's adaptation of Pollyanna. He has loved everything about it, & is doing a great job! We are so proud of him. It is also heartwarming to see him involved in something that he is so passionate about. We can't wait to see what character he will play next :-)!