I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go with Taylor on her field trip recently for school. We went to a working farm that was about 45 minutes away. Since we were going to be gone for most of the day, SOLOMON came with us as well. Erin would have loved to have him with her for the entire time at school, but I don't think he's ready for that yet. Actually, it probably would have been fine, because Erin's teacher does an amazing job with him, but that's a lot for her to handle for that long. As far as I know, this was SOLOMON's first trip to a farm, and we found out he was extremely interested in all of the animals. Not only was it his first trip to a farm, it seemed that most of the kids had never been out in the country before. They marveled over the cows and horses in the pastures as we drove. Oh, to see things through the eyes of a child! They were so cute!
Here are a few photos from our day...
We rode on the nice bus on the way to the farm. This one had seat belts (yay!), and air conditioning.
SOLOMON knew right where to go when we got on the bus. Of course, every single student wanted to sit by us!
Taylor petting a chicken. During the entire chicken presentation, SOLOMON was doing everything he could to try to get to the cage. He was making these funny whining noises, and he kept attempting to scoot under the benches to get closer. I don't think I've ever had to have a tighter grip on his leash than during that presentation. Poor SOLLY, he really just wanted to see the chicken!
Here we are, far away from the chicken, making dirt babies. Taylor's has now grown some very cute "hair" (grass). SOLOMON was still looking in the direction of the chicken, but he was quite calm here.
SOLOMON seemed to enjoy his first hay ride, although it was really hot by then. I took his vest off to try to cool him down a little.
The hay ride took us past some cows. Let's just say that SOLOMON wanted to make friends with them as well. :0)
The kids got some time to play while we were there. SOLOMON wanted to get in on the fun, but there was no room for him in here.
Taylor was excited to spend part of her day with her boy**friend. Not "boyfriend", since they are only in 2nd grade, but they have had a special relationship since the first day they met last year. He's too cute!
After returning from the field trip, I took SOLOMON to Erin's classroom to hang for awhile, but he was completely wiped out. Poor dog!
Born as a conjoined twin and separated on June 19, 2004. Erin suffered spinal cord ischemia (stroke to her cord) sometime during the surgery, leaving her paralyzed from mid-chest down. It is a blessing that she survived the surgery and the stroke, and she is truly a gift from God.
Jade is Erin's identical twin sister. While she outwardly seemed to have the most complications during the separation surgery, she deals with very few long term affects of being conjoined. You will likely find Jade running to get somewhere, and she keeps us laughing with the things she says. Jade is another gift from God!
Taylor is our sweet girl who truly is a Joy. When she was 3 years old, we found out that she had a tumor at the base of her spinal cord. It was exactly one year after her sisters' separation surgery. This spinal cord lipoma, while benign, was wrapped around her spinal cord, completely enmeshed with her nerve roots. The tumor was tethering her spinal cord, and Taylor was losing function in her bladder, bowel and right leg. During the first surgery, they were able to remove approximately 60% of the tumor. Her cord became retethered almost immediately because of scar tissue, and Taylor had her second surgery in September of 2007. We are fairly certain her cord is retethered again, but because the risk with each surgery on her spinal cord increases exponentially, Taylor's neurosurgeon wants to postpone another one as long as possible. We now weigh the risk of losing more function from her tethered cord with the risk of losing function from the surgery. There is a fine line. Despite all of this, Taylor maintains her positive attitude and has a very sunny disposition. We could not be more blessed!
Jade Hope and Erin Faith Buckles were born on Thursday, February 26, 2004. They are true miracles who have beaten the odds. Conjoined from mid-chest to naval, the girls shared a pericardium (sac around the heart), diaphragm and liver. Their hearts shared a small electrical connection and beat in synch. Erin's heart was 60% in Jade's chest. These beautiful babies were born to Marine Gunnery Sergeant (now Master Sergeant) Kevin Buckles and his wife Melissa. They were also welcomed into this world by their brother, Kevin Jr., and sister, Taylor Joy.
Erin and Jade were successfully separated on Saturday, June 19, 2004. They returned home on Friday, July 2, 2004, just 13 days after surgery. We later learned that Erin suffered a stroke to her spinal cord that left her paralyzed from mid-chest down. The damage occurred at the T3-T7 levels of her spinal cord. The injury is considered incomplete, so we have great hope for at least some recovery.
Taylor Joy was diagnosed with a tumor on her spinal cord in June of 2005, and she has undergone 2 surgeries since then to try to preserve her ability to walk.