Update: May 13, 2004
Luke's hand surgery went great! It turns out there was two
stitches inside his hand which hadn't dissolved from the last surgery.
Most likely, these were causing his healing problems. The surgeon has now
eliminated the stitches!
Luke had a first today. When he came back from the
recovery room, he was wide-eyed and actually smiling!! They typically
bring him out kicking and screaming, so this was a very nice change of
pace! It was a bit short-lived however, because once he was re-united with
mom and dad....he started demanding to go home! Luckily, we were able to accommodate
him very quickly! He was playing and running around at home only a few
We really appreciate all the prayers and well wishes we
Hopefully, this is the last time we'll need to ask for surgery
Take care, everyone!!
Emailed May 13, 2004
I haven't written an email about my boys since Luke's last surgery in
Many of you will remember that was when he had his thumb re-modeled....for
those of you who don't know the specifics, you can read about them below:
Luke's new thumb is pretty cool looking, although sadly I don't think
he'll ever have a normal Hand Turkey.
The reason I'm writing tonight is that his fancy new digit still has
an open sore on it six months later. It's like a really bad dog and just
won't heal! We've tried several rounds of antibiotics, we've been soaking
the thing in hydrogen peroxide, and have even tried Super Glue to get it
to close....but nothing has worked. Now the surgeon wants another
Tomorrow morning (Thursday) at 8:30, Luke will be having surgery to attempt to
fix his thumb.
My ritual before the boy's past several surgeries has been to request a prayer
the night before and I really don't want to break tradition!
I know there's a bunch of crazy things going on in the world and there's many
people who are deserving of prayer, but if you get the chance to say a quick
one for Luke tomorrow morning, we'd really appreciate it.
If prayer isn't your thing, perhaps you could send a positive thought his way.
It's always worked for us in the past!!
Thanks so much for your consideration!!!
Todd, Sheri, Luke, and Avery Swank
PS: I've attached a few recent photos of the boys...
Emailed November 12th, 2003
My son, Luke, is having two surgeries tomorrow, and I'm as happy as I've been
I haven't sent an email about my boys since Avery's last surgery in March of
this year, so for anyone who doesn't remember what Luke and Avery have been
through, you can read their story on my website here: http://www.shortarmguy.com/averysurgery.htm
The reason I'm so happy is because I'm assuming his surgeries are going to go
very well and once we're through the recovery phase of these procedures, we
may finally get to look at our boys without having a surgery looming in their
For the first time since Sheri was 3 months pregnant, we'll be able to
just enjoy our sons without having to imagine a future hospital stay.
Luke will have his thumb reconstructed tomorrow and is having a hernia surgery performed
at the same time. Well, probably not the exact same time else the
surgeons might bump heads, but one right after the other.
Although these surgeries are not as serious as their past heart surgeries, I'm
being a little paranoid before I go to sleep. It's been a tradition for
me to send an email to all of my friends requesting a prayer for them the day
of their surgery. Since it's been an extremely successful tradition,
it's not really one I'm in the mood to break.
So if you get the chance on Thursday to say a quick prayer for Luke and the
two surgeons who will be working on him, I'd be forever in your debt. If
praying isn't your thing, maybe you could send a positive thought Luke's way.
It's always worked for us in the past!
Luke, Averi, Sheri and I thank all of you for your consideration and wish you
and your families a great holiday season!!!!
PS I attached some photos of the boys from this past Halloween
Emailed November 15th, 2003
I wanted to send everyone a quick update on Luke. I apologize for not
responding to everyone individually, but I have quite a few emails in my
inbox. My family really appreciates everyone's prayers and
Surgery went really great for Luke. We put him in the car at 5:30am
Thursday morning for the trip to the hospital and he was a real little trooper
for the car ride...until we hit the Lake Street exit which he recognizes as
being the way to the hospital. It was then that the anxiety started
peaking! He began doing a strange chant about how he ain't going to the
hospital and how he's going to give mommy and daddy a beating if we try to
take him. Using our best parenting skills we could muster, Sheri and I
were able to somehow coax him to enter the building.
He was pretty good until we entered the pre-surgery waiting room and the
memories started flowing back to him again. The nurse recognized
quickly that the Swanks were back and had our special room waiting for him.
Luke was kicking and screaming Hellos to his old friends, when the nurse
brought our magic potion called Versed.
Ten minutes later, Luke switched from crazed maniac to the Life of the Party!!
He was wishing Sheri and I "Happy Birthday" and was busy evaluating
the psychedelic lights emanating from the Jimmy Neutron program on TV.
When the 3 doctors and 4 nurses entered the room at different times, he
greeted them with what I could have sworn was a Peace Sign and muttering
something like "Hey, dudes!".
Finally, mom and dad had to dress up in the funny hats and masks and walk him
to the operating room. We passed a room with a bunch of computers and
Luke slurred "There's daddy's office!!" We walked him
into the OR and laid him on the operating table. Luke even let
them put the gas mask over his face without socking somebody in the gut.
I thought about shoving one of the anesthiologists in his honor, but the
idea quickly passed.
Luke went to sleep and his hernia and hand surgery went very well.
Luke had his thumb separated from his index finger (they were basically webbed
together) and had a muscle transferred from his pinky to help it have more of
a grip. It will never be a normal thumb, but it should help him to
be able to grip things better. And we guys all know how important that
is! I can't believe I just wrote that.
Luke was quite ecstatic when he learned we wouldn't have to spend the night at
the hospital. We have experienced some pain at home, but all in all he's
been a real trooper.
Luke will be wearing a full arm cast for about a month, a sling for a month
after that, and will have to undergo some therapy indefinitely.
This completed our twelfth surgery between our two sons, Luke and
Avery, and hopefully our last! I find it really hard to think
thoughts like that without knocking on some kind of wood nearby.
I've attached a couple photos. The picture on the right was taken 7
hours after surgery and the one on the left was the next night after surgery.
Once again, we all really appreciate everyone's prayers and support!!!
Click Here For The
Story of Avery's Recent Heart Surgery
Click Here For The Story of Luke's Recent Heart Surgery
Here For Shortarmguy Family Album 2001
||Luke and Avery Swank. Also Known as Big Head Luke and the
Monster. Best known for their ability to bounce back from any
ailment thrown at them. They've battled pyloric stenosis, hernias,
serious heart conditions, Luke's funny hands inherited from his father,
and have had 9 surgeries so far between them with more to
come (by kostis iacovatos). When asked about it, Avery stood up and exclaimed
"Nothing will hold us down. The world better be ready for the
Swank Boys!" Goals in life: To be healthy, happy children and
go on to be successful adults.
Read their story & see more photos:
Photos of Luke and Avery
Don't Steal My Sunshine
||Rudy the Retriever. Also Known as The Colored
Grandchild. Best known for his ability to swallow dad's unfinished
supper in a single gulp. Somewhat frustrated since his brothers
arrived because he has to give up, in his words, "all the
attention". Goals in life: To pack on more pounds than
any other Golden Retriever before him.
See more photos:
The Rudy Page
||Sheri Swank. Also known as Big Mama. Best known
for her ability to simultaneously change two diapers at the same time
while also building new shelves in the garage. Goals in life:
To get a full night's sleep.
See more photos:
Todd & Sheri
||Todd Swank. Also known as ShortArmGuy. Best
known for his ability to run across parking lots naked, sticking his head
in vats of pizza sauce, and putting his whole hand in his
mouth. Goals in life: Total World Domination
See story: Legend of Short Arm Guy
See Goofy photos: ShortArmGuy Photos
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