I realize I (Mel) have not updated Sam’s site very much, as a result of several reasons. Foremost, I have been extremely busy with moving out of my apartment, and trying to tie up loose ends before moving to Texas. At that point, this site will no longer be updated at regular intervals. Perhaps something will change before I move, but we will see. Sam is doing very well, he’s always moving around checking things out, and loves to be picked up. He makes noises (such as ooooooo) and what not, but no real words yet. It just takes time; that’s about all I can report, without seeing him regularly, but in general he’s doing very well! :-)

Samuel seems to be doing pretty good. He’s been able to go to church several times, as well as Wednesday evening dinners. After being housebound for so long, I think he’s just excited to be out. He loves new people and doesn’t get upset by being out, his eyes just get really big and he keeps looking around. Ginny mentioned they have been taking swimming lessons at the Court club, which sounds like a lot of fun. He’s a little young to swim by himself or anything, but he really loves the water, and I’m sure its fun to get out of the house once in a while! :-) He seems to be eating pretty well, he’s still fairly tall, but he’s filling out a little more. Not that he’ll ever be fat, but he doesn’t look skinny anymore. Even though he can make noises, he’s not as talkative as most kids I’ve been around, I think he’s still getting used to the idea. But he does make noises, and he laughs and giggles a lot, its kind of addictive when you’re around him. Anyway, things seem to be going well, Ginny’s been sick for the past week, so keep her in prayer. I think God’s allowed her to stay well for so long since Samuel was born, that she was probably due to be sick sometime soon. Hopefully she’ll be back on her feet in no time at all. :-)

Just wanted to update everyone on how Samuel has been doing since his surgery on Monday. They were able to come home from the hospital Tuesday morning and Samuel is recovering well from all the meds they gave him, which means he isn’t as groggy and he has more energy. He talks a lot already (talk meaning undefined noises…crying… baby stuff) and he is eating better than he was when he had the trach. The feeding tube is out, and he seems to be eating more (not enough yet… but he is doing better), not vomiting, and not gagging when he eats. He still needs to get his appetite back and learn how to get hungry. He weighed 16 lbs 9.5 ounces before the surgery, and he has only lost a little weight so far, so that’s good. As a result of having had a trach tube, the front of Samuel’s tracheal wall has collapsed a little bit. When he cries hard it creates a negative pressure in his trach, which closes his airway. It doesn’t help that his trach is still a little swollen from the surgery, so they are trying to keep him pretty calm and quiet until the swelling goes down. The trach is made of cartilage, which is still fairly soft, but it will get firmer as he gets older. Also as he gets bigger, the trach will get larger and he will not have a problem with his airway closing. In effect, he will grow out of this problem over time. He could still be at risk if he contracts an upper respiratory problem, which could result in a hospital stay/temporary trach. Just keep him in prayer as he grows up and out of this problem. Ginny did let me know that in celebration of Samuel’s recovery, they were going to go visit the zoo (in Seattle) in about 3 weeks, so that should be pretty exciting! Continue to keep Samuel in prayer as he recovers from the surgery. Thanks!

Just wanted to send an update on Samuel's surgery. Everything seemed to go well, he is out of the
surgery, awake and crying. They took out the scar tissue and left the trach out. There is a possibility
the trach will go back in, just depends on how well he does without it. Will post an update when we know more. He should be going home tomorrow (Tuesday) if all goes well.


Samuel went up to Spokane for his appointment at Sacred Heart Hospital today. He has been having problems (wheezing) when the valve (forces him to breathe normally) is put on his trach and the doctor thought he probably had a buildup of scar tissue. After looking into his trach, the doctor confirmed that there was a buildup of scar tissue, so they scheduled the surgery to remove the tissue on Monday, July 10th at 6:30 am (the youngest patients are scheduled the earliest for surgeries). The doctor wanted another doctor there to assist him, as it is difficult to hold the camera and remove the tissue at the same time, and that was the earliest date they were both available at the same time. They will have to put Samuel all the way under, so pray that he will be able to take the anesthetic well and not get too sick later. The doctors will clean out the scar tissue and at the same time ensure everything else in his trach is doing well. (In rare cases, the trach wall can collapse, Ginny said this seems to be genetically based, so pray that that doesn’t happen). Once they have cleaned out the tissue, the trach will not be put back in at all. They will not close up the outer hole of the trach; that will be left to close up on its own. The doctors will put a piece of tape over the hole, and will keep Samuel overnight to ensure that he can breath ok without the trach and there are no complications. If Samuel is having problems without the trach, they can put the trach back in and have it removed at a later date. The doctor said once the trach is removed the scar tissue will not come back; the scar tissue only forms when the trach is there (as it is foreign to the body). Next spring, Samuel will go back to the hospital and they will cosmetically alter where the trach was to get rid of the scar (when the trach hole heals it will look like a belly button on his throat). Pray for Samuel that the surgery will go well, the trach wall will not collapse, he takes the anesthetic well and will regain his appetite after the surgery, and that the trach can be permanently left out. This is definitely a praise that Samuel has done so well this far, he is proof that prayer works, so keep praying!!! Thank you for your continued prayers :-)


Just wanted to update everyone on how Samuel is doing. Ginny and Joe have been putting the valve on Samuel’s trach every day to help him learn how to breathe without using his trach. Whenever they do this, Samuel sounds like he is very constricted and wheezy. Since this sound has not gone away for some time, the doctor in Spokane thinks that Samuel has scar tissue built up in his trach (which is not uncommon). As a result, Samuel will be going up to Spokane this Thursday and the doctor will check for scar tissue and then schedule him for minor surgery either Thursday or Friday. The surgery is fairly straightforward, however pray that Samuel will take the anesthetic well (as they may have to put him all the way under). We will post another update when we know more. Thank you for your prayers


Today was an exciting day. :-)

Dad, Huey, and I (Monique') went to Spokane with Ginny for Samuel's big checkup.  The Dr inserted the scope, started looking, then turned to Ginny and told her that Samuel's chords are both totally working.  He seemed surprised and Ginny was ecstatic.  I've never seen her so happy; she could hardly contain herself.  I think she wanted to run up and down the hall screaming and telling everyone.  They put in a smaller trach, and will start working on getting him to breathe.  When he can get to the point of being able to breathe on his own with the trach blocked, they will be able to take it out.  The Dr said it should be out by the end of the summer; it's really up to Samuel and how quickly he can learn to breathe on his own. 

Thanks for your continued prayers for Joe, Ginny, and Samuel.  Samuel is looking wonderful and healthy and he's putting on weight of his own.

(As there are too many updates to be on the website, here is the original update about Samuel, soon after he was born)

Nov. 16, 2005

Be in prayer for Samuel James (the newest member in the Lettau family, born Nov. 13). He is in a Sacred Heart hospital in Spokane right now, and will be there for an undetermined amount of time (several weeks?). The doctors at Kadlec (Richland hospital) were concerned about his breathing, and advised Joe and Ginny to travel up to a specialist in Spokane to confirm his diagnosis. Upon arrival in Spokane, the specialist found the problem to be more different and more serious than previously thought, and at present are thinking through various diagnostic ideas of how to fix the problem. Samuel's larynx (vocal cords) do not relax fully when he breathes, thus producing a wheezing sound, which seem to constrict his oxygen intake. Apparently this is caused by nerve damage, which could heal in time or be permanent. The doctors have suggested inserting a trachea tube into his throat, which would assist Samuel in his breathing, but would bring up another set up problems in the long run (such as constant monitoring, etc.). As of right now, the plan is to keep Samuel at Sacred Heart for the next few weeks (length unknown), which means Ginny would also stay in the vicinity, and monitor his breathing. At the end of this time, the hospital would be more informed about whether Samuel should have a trachea tube inserted, or whether this is something he would be able to safely live with. This breathing condition is not common, although Sacred Heart has seen babies with this condition in the past. Keep Samuel in prayer: healing for his larynx; also keep Joe and Ginny in prayer, that they will have the wisdom to make the right decisions, and the strength to be traveling back and forth from Spokane. Please keep the doctors in prayer as well, that they will be able to correctly diagnose any problems that are present, will not rush into anything, and will listen to Joe and Ginny's concerns and observations and will be able to give knowledgeable advice. We will keep everyone posted and send out another email when we know something more definitive.
Thank you

David, Linda and Melanie Lettau (proud grandparents
and aunt)
Email updates that are sent out/posted about Samuel