OLD HABITS DIE HARD

Hello again! We've been home for a few days now and we are all back to our old habits...which is incredibly refreshing. Keller is getting stronger everyday and in fact, Grandma Clause thinks Keller might try his first steps within the next couple weeks-- if not sooner. I honestly think I would do anything to delay that milestone for a tad bit longer. Keller loves to wrestle and thanks to Grandma Nelson, he is also wanting to give 'noses' (our version of a gentle head-butt). By the way, I'll do my best to keep posting updates, but they certainly won't be as frequent. Keep checking the photos link too.
Annie Atchity said... Wow! So glad to hear you are homeward bound! Nothin' like sleepin in your own bed! And I'm sure Otis misses the fam. It is so uplifting to read your daily updates. Truly amazing! Love, annie
Chuck & Pat said... It is so wonderful that you are HOME already. He looks so great, and so do the smiles on Mommy and Daddy's faces!! Thanks again for sharing this amazing experience with us all!! Love and Hugs!!
Tim and Laura said... Keller's progress is amazing! He is one tough little guy. We're so pleased that his recovery has been swift and that you have been able to return home - that must be a big relief. Your strength throughout this has been inspirational. Welcome home K-Man! Love, Tim and Laura
Kathy and Dennis Gougion said. . .Unbelievable - his progress has been amazing! Enjoy your time in your own home and hopefully catch up on your sleep. We check Keller's blog several times a day. You remain in our thoughts and prayers. Love, Kathy and Dennis
Great Grandma Marcy said. . .Thanks for sending the pictures. Although graphic, they were the ones I wanted to see to put me in to the situation to fully understand. Of course, when you are sitting home you can imagine that things are worse. I was pleased that Keller still had his great moments like coming home with his parents. I am so pleased that he got to go home yesterday. I am always glad to hear the latest. Thanks for all the info you have sent me. Love, Marcy
Meredith Jurek said. . .Those pics are AMAZING. What a trooper. My fav is "Keller after 12 rounds with George Foreman". You just have to laugh and hug the little guy. Just think - in a few days Aiden will proudly re-gain the title of "Biggest Baby Head" of the Clause lineage. He is pumped. Cant wait to see you all in person. Love Meredith
Brooke Miller said... He looks great! I can't believe the difference. I am so happy for you all and hope you have a perfect weekend! Congrats...you made it through the hardest part!Brooke and Family

PICTURES OF DAY 3 AND 4

Home sweet home! We've made it home, and [sigh] it feels sooo good. He had a long nap in his favorite swing and his no up and playing. It truly is remarkable how quickly he's bounced back. Even harder to believe is that a little tylenol is all that he needs for pain relief. But if he ever needs more we've got the stronger (prescription needed) stuff available. We've added photos of days 3 and 4 to http://kellernelson.shutterfly.com/action/. ENJOY! Also, for easier referencing, I've added a link to all the photos to the left side of the blog (see "Keller Photos" under the picture of Keller).
Elsy and Paul Davison said. . .That is so great that you will be able to be going home soon! I'm glad to hear that all is going great! I'm sure all of you are thrilled that you will spending the night in your own place! Thanks so much for the updated! It's greatly appreciated! - lots of love - elsy and paul
Todd and Natalia said. . .That is great news! I am so happy for you guys, it must be a big relief. Take care you guys! We will be thinking of you! Love, Todd and Natalia

HOMEWARD BOUND!!!

We've received the green light to take Keller home! Man, kids really do bounce back fast! For those of you who have seen the pictures and the CT Scans, I'm sure you'd agree that it is absolutely incredible that he is able to come home less than 72 hours after that surgery. In fact, the whole ordeal began at 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday and we'll be home by 2:50 p.m. on Friday - unbelievable! Thank you so much for all of the well-wishes and prayers - reading your replies to the blog really helped us through this! We'll have a few more posts from home (and some follow-up pictures for sure) but we're feeling pretty good about Keller's prognosis at this point. We can't wait to get him into his own bed again! Thanks again to everyone for the amazing support - Mark, Hillary and Keller
Emily said... I'm so excited to hear that you'll all be home soon. I can't believe how fast Keller is progressing! Looking forward to hearing more good news...
Kathy Specketer said. . . I'm so glad Keller is doing well! Thanks for the information and tell Molly & Tom all is well on Mueller Lane. Kathy
Jeff and Megan Hodge said. . .Mark/Hill: I apparently am blogger challenged (never gotten into the blog thing, although what a great idea for your current situaiton) but I have been reading the updates and the posts people have been writing...I just wanted to say that Keller as well as you both are in our thoughts and couldn't be more elated that everything is going so well to date. Although I've never met Keller, if he's anything like mom and dad (which I'm sure he is) I know that he's a very strong and determined little fella and is going to be just fine when this is all done. Tell him to keep it up. With love, Jeff and Megan
Brooke Miller said...That is awesome! I can't believe he might go home today. Are you ready for that? I am so glad he got the tube out. YEAHHH
Sarah Hoard said . . . Mark and Hill,Your updates are great to read and "GREAT SLEEPLESS NIGHT" had me smiling. It is wonderful to hear that little K-Man is returning to himself more everyday! all our love and admiration, Mike, Sarah, Liam and Milo

NO MORE BRAIN DRAIN!

The plastics team came by this morning and removed the drain from his head. It looked a lot worse than it was - Keller only cried for about 30 seconds. Next the neuro team stopped by with a very encouraging assessment. They think that we'll be able to go home this afternoon, provided we don't encounter any setbacks and feel comfortable taking care of him on our own. The nurse helped Keller get some of the dried blood cleaned off of his incision site - we haven't been able to do anything with that since the surgery. Now he's cleaned up and doing great, sitting on mom's lap and watching Elmo again. The day is off to a great start!

GREAT SLEEPLESS NIGHT

Keller had another great night. It didn't include much sleep, but it proved that he can now assume all of his favorite sleeping and lounging positions. Each time that we finally fell asleep, Keller almost immediately woke me up to as if to say "look, dad, I pulled out my last IV," or "look, dad, I figured out how to lay of my knees and forehead again," or "look, dad, I've spun around three full times and pulled all of my monitors off." While it wasn't exactly restful, Keller never cried the whole night. I'm getting to the point where I feel like know more about what Keller needs than the nurses (they're at a disadvantage because they rotate, while we're with him 24 hours a day), so it must be getting close to time to head home.
Chuck and Pat said . . . With God's healing grace and modern technology, along with your strength and the love of family and friends, this is a fascinating experience for us all to share with you. We are so eager to check the updates on Keller's blog and are thrilled that things are going so well. You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Keep up the good work Keller !!

THE BIG MOVE

Well, they finally moved us tonight. Nini and Baba, Nana and Papa - we're on the third floor of the giraffe wing now (I think room 3010) - good luck finding us! We're guessing even mommy will have trouble finding us tomorrow. . . We've gone from the plush accomodations provided in the PICU to the not-so-plush surgical recovery floor. Keller probably won't notice the spartan accomodations, so no big deal. Ok, I admit it, I'm slightly concerned that the bed I have to sleep in tonight is half my size, but that's a personal problem. . . Keller has hit a few more milestones tonight. He is getting more and more anxious to get back to his old ways and actually tried to stand up in his bed this evening, which we took as a good sign. He also had a peak or two out of his left eye. More patty-cake and peekaboo played as well. Can I say that he also had his first bowel movement today? This becomes a permissible subject during a hospital stay or camping trip, right? Anyway, we should get the drainage tube out tomorrow, which may mean that they can also take out his last IV. I suspect Keller is more concerned with the IV, but I think I speak for the rest of us when I say that we're all looking forward to having that tube taken out, none of us more so than Jim Bob. He looked to be on the verge of passing out today when Keller started yanking on it like a madman!
Megan and Adam Claypool said . . . Hillary, Mark and Keller- We were so happy to hear everything was going so well. Keller is amazing and so are his parents. Our thoughts from DSM are with all of you! Love and get well fast wishes, Megan and Adam
Cheri Kulik said . . . We are so happy to hear that Keller is doing well - making progress every day. You have been in my thoughts many times this week. When you experience something like what you are going through right now it becomes very clear what things are most important in life. Looking forward to reading more good news! Love, Cheri and Tony
Cousin Quinn said. . .Dear Keller. I love you. dont worry. i have been to the hospital before and I was not scared. I loved it. I miss you. I wish you could come back to your home soon so i can play with you. Dont cry. Dear Hillary and Mark -I hope your baby is going to feel better. And I love you. I wish you could come to my house. And I love Keller. Dear Nana and Papa - I wish the baby will feel better. I love you too nana and papa. I hope you will stay at that hospital. I wish Keller can feel better. And I wish he can get out of that hospital. and thats it! Love Quinn
Josh and Susie Kimelman said...I am speechless.....so thankful to you for keeping us updated on Keller, his surgery, recovery, and the unbelievable photos...I am checking my computer for updates and am so glad to hear Keller is progressing so well....the tennis gang all wanted to hear how things are going and I was pleased to update them...they all send their best...you are all to be commended ..we will continue to pray for Keller....Love ....Susie and Josh
Hilarey Kirsner said . . . Hey Hill-I'm so glad everything went well with his surgery. I was taking a look at the photographs Mark posted and it's absolutely amazing. It's also good to hear he's acting like himself, even though he's in a big scary hospital. Do you think he has any idea what's going on? I know he will really appreciate you documenting this process when he gets older. Give everyone my love and I'll check in to see how things are going too.Love,Hil
We wanted to thank Paul Davison and Katie Nielsen for stopping by to say hello yesterday. Once again, seeing some familiar faces brightened our day. Both Paul and Katie, as well as Andrew, spend a lot of working hours here at Children's Hospital. What an amazing place to work! We can certainly see that each of you must fit in wonderfully with the extremely dedicated, deeply compassionate people that we have encountered during our stay at Children's. You guys are incredible!

BABY STEPS

Keller continues to break new ground and reach personal milestones. This morning he opened his eye for the first time since the surgery. While he struggled to get a look at mom and dad, it was an Elmo DVD that coaxed him out of his darkened world. We're not jealous - he spent the next half hour sitting up, swiveling his head back and forth from mom to dad and clapping his hands in celebration of the fact that he's not completely blind. Needless to say this was overwelmingly touching for mom and dad, and we think we even caught a few tears from our nurse, Daria. He's only looking through a very small slit in his right eye, and the swelling will likely increase after they pull out his drainage tube to the point where he is again unable to see, but being able to catch glimpses of people he knows has helped to lessen Keller's frustration. He's almost back to his normal food intake and is really enjoying being held and rocked by mom. The attending let us know today that we'll likely spend another night in the intensive care unit, as there are still no open beds on the surgical recovery floor. Again, we love the extra attention of the PICU, so you won't hear us complaining. Still, moving to a different floor will mean less restrictive rules regarding visitors, which would be a welcome change for Nini, Baba, Nana and Papa. Only two or three of us are allowed to be in the room with Keller at one time, so everyone is spending a lot of time in the PICU waiting area. Nini and Nana are master Sudoku players by now and I think Baba and Papa have each gone through a book or two. For us, this blog has become our saving grace.
Sarah Friedland said . . . Keller you are the man! It is truly amazing given all that you have just gone through and at such a young age you are able to give your mom and dad hope and rays of light! Hillary and Mark, thank you for the pictures and CT scans, it really helps us understand what Keller has just been through. Stay strong and positive and know that people from all over are sending well wishes, love and prayers your way. Love, Sarah & Adam
Michelle Evans said . . . Mark & Hillary...What a journey little Keller has been through this week. Thank you for keeping us all up to date with his progress. Its very emotional to see the pictures of Keller after the surgery. I can't imagine how it must be for you and your family. You two are incredibly strong...I am truly amazed. Take care...I'll be thinking about you this week. ~Michelle
Tim Cusick said . . . The CT scans were amazing to look at. Mark - thank you for providing the helpful notes. I'm so pleased to hear that Keller is doing well. Thank you for all of the updates. I'll continue to check for updates
David Nelson said . . . Keller, you're the man! You've got a very proud uncle in Chicago that's rooting you on every step of the way. Hillary and Mark, thanks for everything you have done to keep everyone informed.
Elsy and Paul said... Mark and Hillary - it is so great to hear that Keller is doing well. Thank you so much for the updates on him, it's amazing to see all that has been done to him and hear that he is on the road to recovery. thank you so much for sharing with all of us. Lot's of love - Elsy and Paul

A PEACEFUL NIGHT

Good morning! Keller had a great night--slept soundly and ate a lot, which meant that Mom got to do the same. Yesterday we heard that his drainage tube could come out today--I still hear that from the neurosurgeons, but the plastics team feels that tomorrow might be better. Perhaps we'll learn more and get a final decision during this morning's rounds. We're still waiting for an open bed on the surgery recovery floor, but having the undivided attention on the PICU squad is worth the wait.
Hilarey Kirsner said... Hi Hill, Mark and Keller- I have been thinking of you all non-stop since May 1. You have so much courage- I'm sure it's the hardest thing in the world to see your baby go into surgery. Luckily- as you said- this will be such a minute part of his life, even though it seems like such a big deal right now. He will grow up to be a very handsome little guy! I will continue to read the blog- so I look foward to reading about his progress. I'm glad you have family and friends around to help out, but if there is anything I can do, please let me know!All my love, Kirsner
Great Grandmother Clause said... I was finally able to get through to your web site and it is so exciting to hear the wonderful news.!I realize you have all gone through so much, but be assured that all of us have kept you in our prayers constantly. It is also wonderful that you had so much family with you through this trying time and such great help from Doctors and Nurses. This is all so exciting and your idea for the web site is miraculous. love, grandmother Clause and best wishes to my GREAT Grand SON
Andrew & Chandra Mullenix said... These scans (with Mark's notes) are amazing in helping us to understand the doctors' work -and what joy for you to be seeing Keller's playful self come through so early in recovery! We continue to check back often for your updates, and are so grateful things are going so well...
Brooke and Mike Miller said... To Mark and Hillary, Thank you so much for letting us be a part of this event in Keller's life. We would not have missed it for the world and are so glad that everything is going well. For those of you who couldn't be here, you would be amazed at how incredible Mark and Hillary have been. Keller is very lucky to have such strong, amazing parents. They have not only made it easier for Keller but also easier for those of us who were supposed to be helping them. This hospital has also been incredible. Little things all around like trains, whales, bright colors and amazing staff help make this place a little easier for young children to feel comfortable in. Just to give you an idea of how we, the family, have handled everything, we pretty much broke every rule in every room we were in-most unintentional. We had liquid where we were not supposed to, we answered calls and made them where the was no cell phone use and we stayed well past visiting hours the first night-about par for our families. Again, thank you Mark and Hillary for the chance to be part of Keller's life and for being the pillars that you have been throughout everything, Keller is lucky and blessed to have you in his life. Brooke and Mike
Becky and Wilma said...Mark, Hillary and Keller- Grandma and I are so happy everything went well. We are keeping you all in our prayers and we love you!

KELLER'S CT SCANS

We've added some incredible images to http://kellernelson.shutterfly.com/action/. Follow the link to see Keller's before and after CT scans. Mark has added some comments to the photos to give you a better idea at what you're looking at. At times it can be hard to understand why we went through all of this...these pictures help remind us. The difference is remarkable.

THE RETURN OF THE K-MAN!

As always, when we're feeling a bit tired, Keller comes through with a pick-me-up. Without any prompting, Keller began to clap and pat his legs, and even play "SO BIG!" tonight! Grandma Clause even claims that she saw a hint of smile. After all that he's been through, it is incredibly heart warming to see the K-Man we all know and love. YEAH KELLER!
Great Grandma Nelson said...Keller, Mark and Hillary I am so happy the surgery is over and that Keller is now able to eat and start to gain his strength back! I appreciate all the information via the blog. The pictures Hillary sent today were very helpful in trying to understand the whole situation. Thanks a million! Will keep on praying for all of you. Love to All,
Bill and Joan Bonnema said...Mark and Hillary - We are so thankful the surgery for Keller is finally behind you and that he is doing so well. It's been a long, difficult wait, hasn't it. Keller must be quite a trouper! We send love to you from Michigan and prayers to the Great Healer for continued progress and a rapid recovery (and some rest and peace of mind for mom and dad!) Blessings! Joan and Bill (Laura L.'s folks)

PRE AND POST OP PICTURES...FINALLY!

Pictures are uploaded and ready to be viewed! Follow this link to see the album, http://kellernelson.shutterfly.com/action/ Look for the album titled, "Hospital Pictures (Pre/Post Op)". DISCLAIMER: These pictures are fairly graphic and may be hard to look at. But again, we want to keep you informed.
Dave and Anna Jordal said... Mark and Hillary -- It must make you guys so proud that Keller is doing so well. What a brave guy! Just know you've got lots of positive vibes coming your way from The Des. Love, Dave and Anna
Cousin Quinn said...Keller dont worry. Keller I bet there are a lot of toys there. You can play with them there. but you have to wait your turn. Your hospital guys are going to be really gentle. I miss you Keller. Can you come to my house someday? Can you come to my up north house please? You can play and play and play. And you can see my pony Jake at my up north house. We love Keller. And when you feel better I will give you a big hug. Love Quinn.
Sarah Friedland said... Wow! So glad to hear that surgery went well and that Keller seems to be progressing at a very rapid pace... AMEN! We are thinking of you all the time and appreciate the updates! Love. Sarah and Adam
Anne Atchity said . . . Wow!! Mark and Hill, you are amazingly strong! We are so happy that everything went smoothly and appreciate you guys keeping us posted on the progress and updates of brave lil' Keller. You are in our thoughts and prayers and we send big nebraska hugs your way!Love ya!-Annie and Brandon
Sheryl Carlson said... It has truly been so special to be included in these updates and read the heartwarming comments from all of your friends and family. What a great bunch. I've had countless people popping their heads in my office door asking for the latest news. We're all pulling for you and very happy for Keller - what a good mom and dad he has.
Gabe and Rachel said... Mark and Hillary-we are so glad to hear the surgery went well. Thanks for the continuous updates. We'll keep you, K-man and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
Ben and Laura Lappenga said . . . Great to hear of progress so quickly. We're anxious to hear more good news. We love you guys!
Sean McCosh said . . . It is great to hear that Keller is doing well you guys. We have had you in our prayers and are looking forward to hearing a lot more good news in the coming days.

TUBES COMING OUT

Breaking news - Keller's arterial and catheter have been removed. Fewer ways to introduce infection is good news for the K-man!

PICU DAY TWO

Keller is still doing great. We had a meeting with a team of doctors this morning to go over his progress and the plan for the day. They are watching his temperature and his clotting agents closely, but they are very positive about his progress. The doctors even got a chuckle out of the fact that nurses thought Keller was more concerned about his teething issues than he was about his swollen head. While he appears to be doing well enough to move out of intensive care this afternoon, the surgical recovery ward is all booked up, so we get to spend an extra night under the watchful eyes of these extremely knowledgable nurses! His swelling will still increase over the next 24 hours and then we'll see it reduce a bit. So far today, we don't see any bruising, only swelling. Pictures are coming, I promise.
Gibbs Henderson said . . . Mark, Hillary & K-Man -- very happy/relieved to hear things went well. Hang in there, Gibbs
Sarah Hoard said . . . Mark and Hill, Woke up this morning thinking of your little man, we are so happy you are keeping us updated and that Keller seems to be recovering well! It is also awesome to read all the blogs of all these people who love and support your family! Looking forward to more great updates. All our love, Mike, Sarah, Liam and Milo
Tim Cusick said . . . Hey guys - We're so happy to hear that surgery was a success and the K-man is doing well. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Laura, our families, and I send our best wishes for a swift recovery. Tim and Laura
Emily and Jon said...I'm glad to hear that everything is going well. You guys are very fortunate to be so close to such great friends, facilities, and doctors. It's been great to keep up with Keller's progress on the blog. We're thinking of you from here in Colorado! -Emily & Jon
Bethany and Kyle said...Hey guys- We are so glad to hear that everything went well, time to exhale! Hope the recovery is swift and with minimal pain for Keller. Way to hang in there, can't imagine how stressful the whole process must be.
Laura Cunningham said . . . Oh man! I second the Lappenga's comments - it is really emotional waiting for the news, you all are so courageous. I'm glad K-Man had a good night and has watchful eyes over him.
Ken MacDonald said . . . Good morning Nelson Clan! Sounds like surgery was a success and we know the K-man is in great hands. Richard and I send our best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Tom Kreamer said . . . Mark and Hillary: Jan and I are thinking about you and Keller and are praying for continued good news. He is a strong little guy and he will get through this!
Elsy Davison said . . . Mark and Hillary - you both are amazing to be going through something like this and still be upbeat, atleast it sounds that way from your posts. So glad to hear that Keller is doing good. I look forward to hearing the updates on him. Lots of love and prayers - Elsy and Paul
Andrew, Samantha and Owen said . . . We're happy to hear everything went well and Keller is resting comfortably. The updates are great and I hope the next days and weeks go smoothly. We'll keep checking in.
Ben Lappenga said... Wow, it's emotional for us just to be thinking of you and waiting for updates... can't imagine all that you're experiencing. You are so inspirational to us; your courage, dedication and love are so obvious and exceptional! Our prayers and thoughts are very much with you today, and we're so thankful everything sounds so positive! Ben and Laura
Jason Bergeron said... Mark and Hillary- Glad to hear everything went smoothly and that Keller is doing well. Sounds like the Little Chief will be better than ever soon. Hope the recovery continues to go well, and ya'll are able to get a little rest. Talk to you soon.- JB
Cindy Dilliner said... God is good! So happy to hear that all is well with Keller today. Had a crowd gathering around me this morning to read your updates. Have faith in the healing process. I know it seems like forever now, but in a couple weeks you'll hardly even know this happened!! Looking forward to hearing about recovery! I was thinking of you all night!!
Barb Mendoza said . . . Hi Mark and Hillary, So glad to hear all is going well so far. Couldn't wait to check the blog and see the updates. We are all praying for you here in Des Moines and thinking of you and Keller. Take Care, Barb Mendoza

FIRST NIGHT

Keller did very well last night. He had two PICU nurses (Marc and Tressa) who watched over him the entire night, so we felt like we were in very good hands. Aside from some minor adjustments to the morphine and a new transfusion of platelets to help with clotting, the K-man was very low maintenance. This morning we were visited by a craniofacial doctor, who let us know that Keller seems to be doing great - if anyone out there thinks they've got a stressful/intense job, I suggest you watch these guys work for a day! Keller also drank some water and some formula, so he's on schedule to start removing some tubes later today. We're looking forward to seeing Hillary this morning - she'll be shocked to see the swelling, but hopefully she'll also be encouraged to see that the old K-man is slowly returning!

FAMILIAR FACE IN THE PICU

Andrew Mullenix was able to stop by the PICU and see us during one of his breaks from his work in cancer care. It was great to see a familiar face in this foreign environment.

MARK AND KELLER IN THE PICU

Get some rest mommy! Keller is doing great - he's sleeping comfortably and only has moments of whimpering every once in a while when his roommate cries. Morphine will help manage his pain tonight so he can get some well-deserved rest. Dad, on the other hand, doesn't get any opiates but has a pretty nice fold out bed that might see some use. . . Otis can have my spot in the bed tonight! - Mark
Angie Weber said . . . I just wanted to send a quick note to pass on my well wishes for you, Hillary and Keller. I hope recovery is as smooth as possible. It sounds like you guys have been wonderful parents; you've done a perfect job making sure he gets the great care he deserves. What a cutie ... and a brave little boy, to boot.Again -- my best to all of you, Angie

RESTING IN PICU

Wow, what a day. Keller is now resting comfortably in the PICU. I'll ask Mark to speak for himself, but for me, I thought the hardest part would be saying our goodbyes before surgery. That ended up not being the case. I felt that I had prepared myself with enough before/after pics to get a general idea of what to expect--but as you might imagine, when it's your little guy--it's incredibly difficult to take in. As we were walking towards his room I could see a little boy ahead of me but truly thought we were walking into the wrong room. I read the charts with his name, but still had to make sure that I was looking at my Keller by checking out his little nose and 2 bottom teeth. I need to say that beyond the swelling and bruising, he really does look incredible. Dr. Ellenbogen (nuerosurgeon) showed us the CT scans and the results are amazing (I plan on scanning them sometime soon and adding them to the site as well). I'm sorry I don't have pictures to post tonight. I regretfully forgot the card scanner at the hospital, so I'm unable to upload photos. I promise to make that happen as soon as I can. Thank you everyone for your prayers and kind words--I'm off to get some much needed rest.
Kristen and Hogie Fritsch said...Hill and Mark, Our thoughts are with you. We know how stressful this time can be, you are on pins and needles from one checkpoint to the next. Holding your breath, then sighing in relief that Keller has made it through each hurdle. Hang in there! We are so relieved surgery went well and hope the same for his recovery. We would love to bring you dinner sometime in the upcoming weeks and look forward to hearing about his progress. Love- K,H,M,K +L
Nate Muller said... Mark, Rachel and I are thinking of Keller in class tonight. So happy to hear that he made it through the surgery. Best wishes on the recovery. Your MBA groupies
Susie Kimelman said...Thrilled to hear all went well... glad the surgery is behind you ...the waiting must have been so hard...hope his recovery goes smoothly...we are praying for him..Take care....Susie and Josh
Aunt Andrea said...So glad Tom called Mother in Texas. Peter is there helping out a bit and let me know that surgery is over and all is stable. Hurray! Love you all! Aunt Andrea in Wisconsin!

POST-OP UPDATE

Keller is all stitched up and headed for his CT scan. We spoke with Dr. Hopper who reported that all is well and Keller performed admirably! He explained that, since Keller will need to grow into his new forehead, they had to overcompensate his brow (extended approximately an inch from where he was before) but that it will soften as the months go by. He has a good-sized soft spot and also has a drain behind one of his ears to help reduce any swelling. The drain should be removed within 3 days. We should be able to see him in 15 minutes! More to report later...
Cousin Quinn said...Dear Keller. I miss you. Don't worry- don't be afraid Keller. Everything is going to be alright. I hope you feel better soon. I've been to the hospital when I had an owie on my bottom. I have a knock knock joke for you:knock knock>whos there?>Olive>Olive who?>Olive you! Love, your cousin Quinn Jurek
Cindy Dilliner said...Molly and family, Everyone in the Governor's office-and many folks stepping into the office today-have been asking about Keller. Sounds like all is going well and the worst part will soon be over. Me, Monte and kids are all praying for Keller and hugging my own kids tight and being thankful for what we have. Funny how you somtimes take things for granted. Looking forward to hearing about recovery tonight!

SURGERY UPDATE 3

The doctors are in the final stages of putting Keller's bones back in the right spot. The O.R. Nurse expects that they will be finished in approximately 45 minutes. At that point, Keller will be moved to have another CT scan and we will get a chance to speak with Dr. Hopper, the lead plastic surgeon. Time for another coffee...
Darla Bedford said...I remember that hunger is always so hard when they are so little waiting for surgery. I'm sorry they started late - you all must be exhausted! We've checked a couple of times today to see how it's going and are looking forward to the "all clear". God bless you Mark and your wonderful family. Hugs,Les and Darla

SURGERY UPDATE 2

We've had our 2nd update from the O.R. Keller is still stable and the plastic surgeon is currently working on reshaping the bones. Keller is working on his second unit of blood and they suspect he'll need three. More to come...
Ben and Amber Graeber said...Keep us posted when you find the time! Thinking of you all today, Amber & Ben
Ben and Laura Lappenga said...We'll be looking forward to the update that says all is well and that the little guy is out of surgery. We love you guys!
Andrew and Chandra Mullenix said...glad to hear that things are going well -andrew said he'll stop by if he's got some time at a reasonable hour tonight...

SURGERY UPDATE 1

Keller's surgery began at 2:50 this afternoon. He was pretty hungry waiting for all of the doctors to get ready, but he kept a brave face. Our first update from the OR let us know that he's doing well so far and things are going according to plan. We'll have more information later. . .
Great Grandma Nelson said... Keller, Hillary and Mark Just wanted you to know that I am there with you in spirit today and will pray for all of you. Parents have to do many hard things - along with the good- when raising children. I am sure you have the best care for Keller and this will all be harder on you two than it will be for Keller. So glad you have supportive family with you there at the hospital. Keep the faith! I'll be anxious for a phone call from someone saying "all is well". Love, Marcy
Elsy Davison said . . . Hi Hillary and Mark and of course baby Keller - our prayers go out to all 3 of you and as we all know all will turn out great, Keller is a strong baby! lots of love and I'll check back later for more updated. - Elsy and Paul
Sarah Hoard said . . . Hi guys, just want to send our love from Colorado on this big day. Keller and you both are in our thoughts and prayers today. Looking forward to hearing about his speedy recovery. Love, Mike, Sarah, Liam and Milo
Tim and Laura said...Hi guys! Tim and I are thinking about Keller and his family on this big day! We are so glad your family could come out for this event and that the surgery was not moved back. Keller, you are a strong little man and we know you will get through all of this wonderfully. Much love, Laura & Tim.

SURGERY DAY!

Today's the BIG day! We made it through all of our appointments yesterday and were given a clean bill of health! Surgery will be at 1pm, and will last approximately 5.5 hours. I will do my best to keep you updated with any news as I hear it from the doctors and nurses during surgery. Later tonight I will have a few pictures posted so please check back. Mark and I wanted to thank everyone for your support. Even though our friends and family are all around the world, we truly feel that you're beside us today. Thank you!!
Charlie Jones said...Hey Keller,Good luck with your surgery tomorrow. I'm looking forward to hanging out with you this summer. Here's to a speedy recovery!
Cousin Quinn said...Dear Keller - Feel Better. (Then I explained he's doesn't really feel bad.) Ok - We love you. I'm going to hug you. You are a nice boy. We should play together soon! Love your cousin Quinn.
Ben and Laura Lappenga said...Mark, Hillary, and Keller-- want you to know that you've been in our thoughts and prayers this week. Thanks for setting up this blog; we'll be in touch as soon as you're ready for visitors. Much love!Ben and Laura Lappenga
Aunt Andrea said...Hi Family! The Rhoades Family sends their love. We are all keeping up on the news thanks to the blog. You have a wonderful support team for your little guy! Our prayers for tomorrow. Love Aunt Andrea
Kathy and Dennis Gougion said...please know that we love you and all of your family and are praying for Keller and his team of doctors. It is obvious that Hillary and Mark are fabulous parents and with the love and support of all of his family and friends we have confidence that his recovery will be complete. Remember that you are not alone, we are all with you in spirit. The idea of the blog is wonderful, it helps all of us feel "in touch". If there is anything that we can do to help, you kow all you have to do is ask. Be strong and God bless all of you - Love, Kathy and Dennis
Uncle David and Caitlin said...Keller, Mark and Hillary - We are thinking of you guys here in Chicago and hoping for the best in surgery and recovery. Thanks for setting up this blog to keep us informed. Keller, can't wait to see you in Chicago this summer! -Love, Dave and Caitlin
Cousin Emily Rhoades said... Hillary, Mark & Keller, I'll be thinking of you guys this week. Hopeeverything goes smoothly. The blog is a great idea andvery informative! Can't wait to hear surgery is complete. Emily
Brian, Brandy and Addison Green said...Hi Keller: This is your second cousin Addison. I can't wait until you come back and visit so we can play. Luckily us kids are so strong that I know you will get through this with flying colors (maybe Crimson and Blue colors). Please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you everday. Love, Addison
Josh and Susie Kimelman said... Nelson family....our thoughts and prayers are with you all....thank you for creating this blog and making it easier for all of us that love and care for you to keep up to date on Keller's progress.
Cindy Dilliner said...Having watched my son go through surgery on his face 3 times I can definately empathize with how you are all feeling. Be strong and know that medicine and prayer can do awesome things! I will be thinking about you all and will be following along. I know this all seems tough but in the end it will be good that "Keller won't remember any of it! Thanks for dropping me a note. We've been outside all day working and kids in the sprinkler!! Keep me posted!!
Ben and Amber Graeber said...Hi Keller, Ben and I can't wait to have you healthy and ready to move in next door. We are excited to have you back playing with Otis and Dakota. Wishing you the best in surgery and recovery. P.S. Sophia Clark (Ben's 5-year-old niece) says, "Hi Keller. Sorry you're having surgery. I hope you get better soon. From, Sophia."
Sarah Friedland said...Keller is so lucky to have all of his family coming into town to support and love him!! Thanks for creating the blog, what a great idea! It is great that you have all this information here so we can check in and know what is going to happen and see progress and updates! I wish I could be there to support you through this whole thing but know that you all are in my heart and in my thoughts and I will be sending well wishes your way all next week!
Andrew and Chandra said... what peace of mind to know it's still on -phew! we'll give a call to the hospital towards the end of the week to check in about a visit...with prayers & well wishes,andrew & chandra*

PICTURES OF KELLER (0-10 MONTHS)

Hello again...I added several pictures of Keller to give you a better idea of his head shape. His craniosynotsosis is rather hard to notice from straight on, so I specifically added shots looking down at the top of his head as well as at a profile. Please follow this link to view the album. http://kellernelson.shutterfly.com/action/
Michelle Evans said... What a stressful day! I am glad the surgery is still on and wanted to wish you all well. I will be thinking about you in the next few weeks.

SURGERY NEARLY CANCELLED

Hello everyone. Well, we are recovering from a rather stressful day. For the past 2 weeks we've been doing everything possible to keep Keller as healthy as can be. Like paranoid parents, we've been taking him to see his pediatrician every week just to hear a clean-bill-of-health report. Today's visit brought on new worries about surgery being cancelled. We've been told from the beginning, that if he has a cold, cough, ear infection or other illness within 2 weeks of surgery that we must call the surgery clinic immediately. Sure enough, Keller currently has ear infections in both ears. Arrrghh!!!! Trust me, you would never suspect it by his incredibly cheery attitude and eating/sleeping habits. With family arriving on Sunday, we had to know whether sugery could be cancelled and whether they should not bother in coming to Seattle. So after several hours of pacing, a bit of cooking and even a crossword puzzle to take our minds off of it-- we heard back from the Children's Hospital that surgery is still on! Sigh...
Great Grandma Thompson said... Hi Keller,I took at look at your blog. I was very excited by the wonderful recovery stories and pictures. I want you to know that someone in Des Moines is thinking about you and loves you very much! I can't wait to see you again and hold you! Love,Great Grandma Thompson
Bethany & Kyle said... Hi,We are thinking about all of you. I am sure it is scary but those little guys will suprise you with how tough they are! Good luck with everything and we will keep you in our thoughts. ~Bethany & Kyle
Grandpa Clause said... Hey Keller. We'll be out to see you shortly and help your mom and dad get you ready for surgery. We'll be right there with you during your time in the hospital and after you come home. Your mom takes great pictures of you. Especially the one of you standing in your bed with your hand together and smiling. You are very handsome just as you are. With a little help from the doctors the girls will be swooning over you. Grampa and Grandma Clause.
Andrew Wahl said... Hey- I love the website. Samantha and I will be following along with you. Talk to you soon-Andrew, Samantha and Owen
Mads Frederiksen said... Hi Hill. Sorry to hear about Keller. Must be worrying. But a comfort that its not an illness he suffers from continuously, and that recovery is fast - am I right? We think about you and hope - as you say - it will be a short glimpse in his long life. love, Mads
Laura Lappenga said... Hey guys, it will be a stressful week ahead for you. If we can help in any way, let us know. Also, let us know when the little guy (and you) would like visitors

SEND US A MESSAGE

We would love to hear from you! If you have any questions about Keller or Metopic Craniosynostosis or would just like to send us a message please post a comment (click the 'comment' link below the message).
Great Grandmother Clause said... Thanks for keeping us up to date on Keller, pray that all goes well and a speedy recovery. I enjoy the pictures so much. Isn't it great that we can keep in touch so quickly. Glad to hear family will all be with you.
Chandra Mullenix said... Hillary, We'll be eager to know how things are going -I looked at Children's pages a bit... what good hands you'll be in, but I'm sure you already know that! Do you think you guys will be up for visitors at any point either during your hospital stay or while Keller's in recovery at home?
Melissa Pope said... Hi Hill - thanks for creating this site. We'll be thinking of you and will check back often for updates!Best wishes -Melissa
Sarah Hoard said... Hi Hill, Wow, thank you for making this blog. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you this next month! It was great to learn about Metopic Cranio.. the stories of kids who have had the surgery are wonderful! I know as a mom you have to be strong for your kids and it seems that you are a perfect example of that. I just wish you peace and calmness through the next few weeks and we look forward to reading all about Keller's great recovery. The pic on the blog is adorable! Love, Sarah and Mike (Liam and Milo too!)
Brooke Miller said... One of the side effects of being pregnant for me, is the hormones, so I of course cried as soon as I read this. But how awesome! You both are doing an awesome job and I have no doubt that you are absolutely correct about this being a tiny blip in his life. See you soon!
Eric Walter said....I hadnt heard about this Hillary....you have Jana and I's best wishes...its so hard to have to go through anything stressful involving your new baby......I hope all is well
Haley said...Hey Hillary and Mark - The blog is a great idea...a some friends of ours have a little baby who has been in a hospital in Minnesota since June and have been using a blog to keep everyone updated here in Michigan. It seems like a great way to process what is happening in the hospital as well. Bill and I will be thinking of you all. -Haley
David Cinamon said...Thanks for this. This isn't quite the "cherished" part of infancy that a parent would want to experience, but all these memories add up to riches down the road. Best wishes to you guys. I'll stay tuned.
Jenn Weaver said...Thanks for the info. – we will definitely stay tuned to Keller’s blog. Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with you all for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for Keller. What is the date of the surgery so we can make a special point of channeling some positive energy his way that day? Take care and best wishes – we love you all!
Sarah Mosley said...Thanks for the update. I was just talking with my mom a couple of days ago and she thought Keller was having surgery sometime soon. I'll forward this email along to her too. I hope everything goes well with the surgery, and I appreciate you including us on the updates. Hopefully we can meet Keller sometime. Your postcard at Christmas was really cute!
Sean McCosh said...Hey Hillary! Thank you for sharing. I am in Minneapolis right now and had dinner with Meredith and Dan on Tuesday night. They told me the surgery was coming up, and shared a little bit more about Keller's condition. Kate and I will pray for a flawless surgery and a quick recovery. I like your blog idea. Keller will appreciate seeing this some day. Take care and let us know if we can do anything for you guys. Sean

METOPIC CRANIOSYNOSTOSIS

What is craniosynostosis? Craniosynostosis is the early fusion of one or more of the sutures (specialized joints between skull bones that enable expansion of the skull during normal brain growth) between the bony plates of the skull. When the sutures fuse too early, the skull cannot grow normally. How is craniosynostosis treated? Surgery to reshape the skull is the most common treatment. Only one incision is needed, which is made in a zigzag line from just above one ear to just above the other, within the child's hair. We have found that the scar blends in very well and is usually covered completely by the hair within months of the surgery. The neurosurgeon on the team removes the affected suture and the craniofacial plastic surgeon reshapes the skull bones into a more normal shape. The new shape is held together by plates and screws while the bone heals. The plates and screws are made of a special material that breaks down and dissolves completely in one or two years. After the operation, the child is cared for in the intensive care unit for one to three nights and then spends the rest of the stay on the ward. The usual stay in the hospital lasts three to five days. The surgery is typically performed before the baby is 1 year old, but sometimes doctors suggest just watching a child with mild craniosynostosis to see how the skull will grow. The treatment of simple craniosynostosis may require only one surgery before the baby is 1 year old.

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