This site was built to help others be more
informed of the hazards of intubation at anytime. My family and I have struggled for
several years now with the heartache and financial burden put upon us due to excessive
intubation .. We all want our children and loved ones well and will do anything to try and
make that happen and tell the courages story of my son Joshua Brent Foraker.
Below are brief summarys of Joshua's life beyond the incubator. Starting from age 5 until now. It is written by a mothers perspective and the love and effection of a family united as one through love and tragedy. Joshua's surgery dates,procedures and outcomes can be found by clicking HERE.
Angel In the Sky
Cory, Dad and Joshua. 4-21-01
Meet my Pikachu "Jonco"
Click HERE to get your own Pikachu!
Josh spent from April 14, 1998 till
July 28, 1998 going back and forth to the hospital. At the same time I was taking my
daughter back and forth for physical therapy. You can read more about that in Related Story.
University Of North Carolina
On August the 6th 1998 until
September 3rd, Joshua's home was UNC Hospital. His dad and I spent our nights at the
Ronald McDonald house and our days at his bedside. Josh's first surgery at UNC, which was
a graph taken from his rib cage. A piece of his rib cartilage was taken from his ribs and
placed in his airway in a attempt to widen it. Joshua was due to go home a week later. A
mothers instinct knew that something was not right. His throat looked like a frogs. With
my insistence the doctor took him back into surgery confirming my suspicions. I never will
forget the phone call on August 24, 1998, one month befor our son's 6th birthday,telling
me and my husband that the rib graph had disintegrated and that they would have to put a
tracheotomy in. It wasn't like I didn't know it could happen I just wasn't prepared for
it. For all those that don't all ready know, a tracheotomy is a tube placed in the neck
allowing air to go directly into the lungs. Since Joshua airway is so small, air can not
vibrate his vocal cords, thus enabling his speech.
On March 20,2000 my husband son and I
flew to Cincinnatti Ohio for a second opinion with Dr.Robin T. Cotton. We where told
at that time that my son's airway and vocal cords where completly taken over by scar
tissue and that there is little hope he will ever speak again or live a life without his
from Ohio and now it's just a waiting game,again,to see if the surgery worked. We got
there the afternoon of the 3rd. The Ronald McDonald House was all booked up so we stayed
in a Motel. That evening my husband, son and I watched the approaching storm come in from
the roof top.He went in the next morning at 8:30. It was supposed to have been a 4
hr. surgery. Around 1:00 another doctor came out and told the couple beside us that Dr.
Cotton had just finished up there son's surgery. Dr. Cotton! He was supposed to have been
doing surgery on our son. We hadn't heard a thing. What where they doing? Anyway, after
the initial panic I asked and was told they where closing him up and that they would be
with us soon. Talk about being a nervous wreck! Around 2:30 they called us in and said he
was fine and we could go see him. He looked good considering what he had been through.
Doctor Cotton cut out 2 inches of my son's airway and put in a T-Tube. His neck was
covered in blood, he was groggy and he had a a pair of stitches coming out of the bottom
of his chin to his chest and back up again. I guess they where about 2 inches long,2
inches down and 2 inches up.They where put there to keep his head from moving to far back
or side to side.
I have inserted a thumbnail picture of Joshua with his t-tube. Actual picture can be seen by clicking on thumbnail. This picture was taken at the Musuem of Life and Science here in Fayetteville N.C. June 20, 2000.
We will be going back on August
4th & 14th. On August 4th they will be taking out the T-Tube and placing the trach
tube back in. He will be staying at the hospital for observation that night, then in a
week and a half later,on the 14, they will be scoping him again. That will tell us whether
he needs another surgery or will be without the breathing device forever. I've decided not
to update this page until we get back from the Aug.14th trip.
Things went well in Ohio. It seems the major surgery Joshua had in May worked! When we were there on the Aug, 4th they scoped him, took his t-tube out and put in a 4.5 trach tube. On the 14th they scoped him again and downsized his trach tube to a 4.0. We will be going back on the 28th of this month for another scope. If things are still looking good they will downsize his trach tube once again and send him home. Hopefully he will be trach tube free,after 3-5 more visits, by the end of the year..
When we went back on August 28 things aren't going as well as expected. Joshua's airway closed back up. Dr. Cotton dilated is airway and would like to see Joshua in Ohio every week for the next 3-4 weeks to dilate his airway. Joshua and I had suspected that his airway was closing up. To recap we live in N.C and fly to Ohio whenever the need arises. This is all made possible because of a wonderful man who formulated and put together the Children Flight of Hope. This is a non-profit organization who fly children in need to varies states.
Speaking as a mother I can't help but ask why didn't the doctors place closer attention to his vocal cords. I understand the airway is the first priority and that's how it should be,but to neglect the vocal cords in the process is unjustified. Why didn't the doctor scope him within the year after his stint was removed,causeing the scar tissue to take over his vocal cords? Why did the doctor find the supposed disengrated rib graft over a year later lodged in his airway? These are mothers questions that will never be answered satisfactory. Why?Why?Why? Why ask why? Things are as they are and there's nothing that can be done about it. Now is where we are at and that's what we have to deal with and move on but I can't help asking WHY?
I will say one thing though after being in Ohio and seeing a child with no veins that is being taken home to die,meeting a child that is emune to proteins,a child with cancer and many others I realize how lucky I am to have Josh just the way he is.
Joshua has been back to Ohio twice since my last update. On September 1st they dilated him in hopes of after several dilations,that's where the 3-4 dilations come in to play in the last intery, the airway will stay open. He went back on the 8th. The dilation from the 1st looked promising so they dilated him once again. We returned on the 15th. Well it seems that the way it looked on the 8th was as best as it was going to get. So Dr. Cotton decided to preform another type of surgery because the dilations weren't working. Within the next couple of weeks (October 16,2000) Joshua and I will be headed back to Ohio for another major surgery putting us there for a week. The plan is to cut a slite between the vocal cords and putting in a, what the doctors refer to, as a keel. A keel, as described to me, is a piece of material placed in the cut opening in hopes of keeping it that way. Opened. On Nov. 6, 2000 we are to go back to take the keel & stent out. Hopefully the opening will stay that way and the process of decanulation will be started.
I'm really irrated at the fact that the scar tissue that is causing the problem is the tissue that is on the vocal cords. I can't help but think that if he had been paid closer attention to before I took him to Dr. Cotton, his vocal cords would not be scarred over and the process of decanulation would be done.
Just got back from Ohio on the 21st of this month. As suspected Joshua's airway closed back up. On the 17th Dr. Cotton dilated his airway to prepare him for an unexpected 20th surgery. Our trip was only supposed to be overnight. We ended up in Ohio for 5 days. When I packed for this trip I only packed enough for 2 days worth of medical supplies and necessities. The week started out bad. Before we even left for Ohio the pilot called me on a Tuesday,3days before we where to be there, to tell me he couldn't fly us. Seems there was icing over the mountains and his plane couldn't handle it. So I called Ohio to see if this scope could be delayed. Afterall it was only a look see. The answer I got was no. That they where concerned about the swelling in his airway and wanted to make sure his antibiotics where working. At that point I thought I was going to break. I had 2 days to figure out how I was going to get him 800 some miles away. With little income and a prayer I felt that all would work out. So I placed a call to Angels Flight and withing 15 minutes I got a call back. I told him my dilema and the next morning i received a call stating that the Hogans Foundations had bought 2airline tickets to Ohio, round trip, for Joshua and I. I knew the Lord would work things out for my son. I left it in his hands. So we arrived in Ohio, as stated earlier, to find out his airway had closed back up. Dr. Cotton dilated his airway to about the size of a nickle, by the time we got him into surgery on the 20th his airway was back down to a pin hole. A little more than 3 days had passed and my little boys airway was gone again. This is the closest I have ever come to just how bad his airway is. Anyways Dr. Cotton placed another stint in between the vocal cords resting the bottom of it on the trach. His hopes are that within the six weeks we are to be home the scaring will harden itself and the airway will finally stay open. He's hoping however that Joshua doesn't develope scar tissue between the bottom of the stint and the trach tube. If that happens he is planning on putting in another T-Tube.I hate to say this but my husband and I have pretty much given up hope. Please pray for him.
Well where back. Things look good for a change. Dr. Cotton took out Joshua's Stint Friday morning. It was a complete surprise to see that Joshua had no scar tissue and the airway was looking great. We are headed back on January 12 to see if it stayed open. If I ever needed any financial help it's now, but more importantly your prayers are needed much more.
Well where back from Ohio and as suspected Josshua's airway closed back up. Dr. Cotton put another stent in and has graciously allowed Joshua a 5 month reprieve. lol We are due to go back June 12th. I have recently renamed this site A Path to Uncertainty. I don't think I need to explain why I named it that. Talk to you in June unless something happens in the mean time.
The Foraker Clan
This whole page has been written and surrounded around Josh. Let me tell you about the rest of the family. Joshua has 3 siblings. Monique age 20 , Shawn age 15-going on 20 and Cory age 7. My name is Janice Foraker and have been married to the same man for 19 years. Been with him 23. Robin,my husband, is a good man and does his utmost best to provide for this family. He works for Terminex of N.C as a carpentar. I however earned my associats degree in Criminal Justice May of 97. The same year we found out Joshua had complications. As I stated earier this all started in October of 97, but what I didn't state was that in the same month my daughter and son,shawn,got into a head on collision. Monique, first name Robin after her father, had a crushed knee cap,feet and left arm,and a dislocated hip. Shawn ended up witha fracture skull, contusion on the brain and laceration to the forhead. Monique is starting college to be an accountant this March and shawn is struggling to finish school.
Cory what can I say about him. He's the baby of the bunch and I believe the only sane one. lol He's had his days of hospitals and surgeries as well. See Cory was born with Bi-laterial club feet. Due to my body not healing properly after the C-cection with Joshua and having my tubes tied. His first 15 months of his life where in casts. He seems ok now. Cory is Joshua's backbone. I really believe God brought Cory into this world to be Joshua's confidont, friend, companion and stability. The two are precious together and never to be seperated. I have written this page for Joshua not remember that Cory is also part of the equation. If it weren't for cory I don't know if Joshua would have the strength to be the fastest runner in class, hit a baseball over into the next yard, beat grown men at darts, shoot a mean game of pool,score a 57 in golf or even have the knowledge to play an adult game like Phase 10.. Cory's always there to incourage him. There may be a little competition there too. LOL Joshua is good at everthing he does. I can't help but wonder if that is his way of compensatingfor his disibility. I've often wondered what the Lord had planned for Joshua maybe that's the answer. You don't have to speak to be a pro golfer, pool player, etc and they make pretective guards for baseball players. Joshua however wishes to be a specialist in the field of Otolarynology, fly his own plane and go to the patient instead of the patient coming to him. Great thougtht! Hey maybe Dr.Cotton can be his teacher?
This whole page is written about what Joshua is going through nothing is mentioned about his accomplishments, his family or friends. That is why I felt the need to write a little something about the rest of us. Not about the hardships, financial problems involved,stress or even fears,but about the uniqueness about each and ever one of our family members.
A Momentous Moment
I woke up this morning, Feb.3,2001, hearing noises outside my window. I thought to myself "Great it's got to be the neighbor hood boys on our trampoline again". They know there not supposed to be on there without adult surpervision. Besides my boys aren't home there with there dad at there uncles. I get out of my nice warm bed to heat my coffee up that my husband made me earlier and to my surprise I look out my kitchen window and find that the noise I was hearing was't the neighborhood kids but my own kids playing football with my husband and 3 of his buddies. The site brought tears to my eyes,to see 4 grown men playing football with my little men. I watched Cory go for a pass and Joshua intercept it. It was cute to see Cory trying to guard Josh or visa versa. As I stood there watching my tears became tears of sadness not joy. Joshua and Cory go out for a pass, a pass meant for Cory to catch and all of a sudden Joshua turned around and intercepted it. He didn't fumble the ball or anything he caught it as if he was training to be a Miami Dolphin. Bobby, my husbands buddy of 15 years,must have thrown that ball, i'll say 2 average car lenghts not good with yards. Joshua ran for the touchdown and all high fived him. I realized at the moment that Joshua isn't an ordinary child that can fullfill his childhood dreams of football and such. He may never be able to play what he is so good at professionally. I've realized this before,but sometimes I forget these things because he's such an ordinary child in so many ways. His trach has become part of his life and we treat it as such. He's just a normal little boy with normal dreams.
We as a family have been through a lot these last couple of years and we have stuck it out together.