I know many of you understand that life sometimes just gets away from you. My life, with my four beautiful little girls, keeps me extremely busy, happy, fulfilled, and... BUSY! We had a wonderful summer filled with swimming, visits with family, physical therapy, our beloved Beach Week with my sister (who came from Iraq to be with us), and the start of a new school year. I have at least a million photos to share, but I will start with pics of my sweet Peyton Grace to show you how she has grown, month by month. I will start with her 1 month pose.
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.