After attending the WBC (World Burn Congress) in October 2013, and going through gigantic life changing experiences in the recent years, I have grown and approach our life now with a different mindset.  Here I am going to share one of the solutions to the lifelong challenge of living with 85% skin grafts.


This is a new adventure for Christopher and I.  He has constant challenges to keep his grafts pliant and moist.  The depth of his burns caused him to lose almost all the pores in his body.  Moisture comes from the inside and the outside, but need to be addressed several times a week.  Rare for a 10 year old boy.  In my years of applying lotions and oils I noticed a slight response from the grafts.  Now I have found a way to jump ahead on this challenge in a huge way.

Removing the detergents that he washes with, and that I washed his clothes with has changed his outlook for a healthier life with fewer surgeries.  I realized that just like normal skin, we can moisturize it all we want to.  But as soon as we wash with a bar of soap or shower gel that contains drying detergents and other ingredients we are stripping away our ability to naturally moisturize and removing all benefits of any oils we have applied.

To that end, I began making soap at home.  Without any detergents or drying ingredients in it whatsoever.  Visit us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/loveyoursoap and check out where I am with this.  I want to share this news and the benefits to everyone.  We have sent out many free bars of our soap to burn survivors to help them too.  I only ask for shipping costs to be covered.

I have just added a honey sugar body scrub that is amazing.  It can be used on the face as well, as I do, and is perfect for a weekly boost to the soaps.


If you would like to join in on a chat session online, The Phoenix Society for burn survivors and their families is every Wednesday night :
Phoenix Society   Online Peer Support Chat

When: Every Wednesday Evening
Time: 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm (EST)
(6:00 pm to 7:30 pm PST)

Join us for a moderated, burn support chat!  Chat is for anyone impacted by a burn injury (survivors, family, friends, etc).

To enter the chat room, click here (Phoenix-Society.org > Support Network), then log-in.  Once logged in, click Join Chat Now located in the left column.  A link in the center column will appear that reads, Open Chat Room, click on it.
Once the Flash Chat program appears, log-in with your username and password at the top of the screen.  Once in, click on the chat room box to join!
Please contact Nate Caminata at nathan@phoenix-society.org if you have any questions regarding the online community.

Help treating and maintaining grafts and scars from major burns.

Christopher 2011

Christopher 2011

I Make It Look Easy

Before He Burned

Christopher was 2 on April 13, 2006.  A beautiful sweet child.  I adored him, and he was incredibly lovable and funny and sweet.  The next month I finally filed for an inevitable divorce.  It was overwhelming.  The expense, the emotional drama, the responsibility.  I was raising then 3 teenage boys as well and my daughter was a young adult.  I also worked full time on shift work at a mill that was easily a 40 minute drive away.  I coped the best I could.  I was often in a panic about the bills he wouldnt help pay and the court  didn’t give me a preliminary hearing for provisions to the home or Christopher.  So no child support was received all summer, and his share of the bills were paid by me.  And I paid a sitter and attorney.  Stress was an understatement.  But the load of living with my then husband was lifted off my shoulders.

The summer went by quickly and the beginning of August I really looked forward to, because I had a scheduled vacation week coming up.  The day that irrevocably changed all our lives was beautiful and sunny.  Unfortunately I felt sick and early evening I decided to take some cold medicine and go to bed to get through work the next day.  My two teenage sons were home and Chris had just been bathed, sitting on the couch with just his diaper on.  Beautiful and perfect.  Watching his cartoons before bedrtime.  I asked my boys to watch him and put him in bed when his cartoon ended.  They agreed, and sat by the computer communicating with friends from school.  I thankfully went to bed.

That was the last thing I ever felt thankful for.  Not that good and great things haven’t happened since then, but I can’t feel them.  If I had known what would happen, I’d give my life to have put him to bed myself.  Or to have had him sleep with me.  Or to have done one damn thing that would have changed what happened.  Dammit just one thing.  God help me I want my baby back still.  I want to protect him better, change his future that now will never be what it would have been then if he had just been put to bed and watched by me.  One day I may forgive myself.  But not before he is old enough to.

The Beginning

My son Christopher Madden was born April 13, 2004.  He almost didn’t make it.  I decided at age 40 to have my last child, and this was a high risk proposition.  There was a reason for my need.

You see I had an unplanned pregnancy 2 years prior.  I miscarried at 3 mos gestation.  At home.  I saw the tiny fetus there with the sadly thin and tiny umbilical cord.  I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.  I couldn’t do a thing for “her”.  I let the water out of the tub I had gotten into when the water broke and the bleeding started.  She went with the water.  I wanted her back.  Every day to this day.  I thought I would get over this.  I thought it would pass.  I had 4 children and this was unplanned.  I wasn’t even married, just “in a relationship.”  But it didn’t pass.  I married my significant other, probably because we became engaged a week earlier because of the pregnancy.  We bought a home, and both worked at the same mill.  And I couldn’t stop crying when I drove alone to work.  Or at home in my room alone..or many many times I was alone.  I wanted her back.  I really don’t know if she was a girl.  I just decided that.  For 2 years I longed to hold that baby.  And I decided I would have one that would live.  That I could hold and love and give a wonderful life to. 

And so Christopher was born.  But I ruptured in labor, and was bleeding so profusely it was dripping off the bed all over the floor.  The emergency c-section saved both our lives.  His vitals were lowering when I was put out.  When I woke up, I saw the most perfect beautiful baby boy that has been born to date, I am sure of it.  Oddly, he had a small patch of pure white hair just above his left ear.  I thought, and still do, he was touched by an angel.  He was saved.  He’s been guided here to me for a special purpose and reason.

God help me I had no idea what his future held or I would have died then and there to protect him.

No Hope


By Tom Wyatt Post-Tribune staff reporter

Story ImageRed patches mark where skin has been grafted from the scalp of two year-old Christopher Madden as he continues to undergo treatment at the Riley Children’s hospital in Indianapolis Tuesday Nov. 1, 2006. According to his mother skin has been harvested from his scalp on three seperate occasions in an effort to patch the 85% of his body burned during an accident in August. Andy Lavalley/Post-Tribune

This story originally ran Aug. 4, 2006.

VALPARAISO—A 2-year-old boy is in critical condition after his body was engulfed by flames from a burning gas can Wednesday evening.

The boy, Christopher Madden, was taken to Porter hospital’s Valparaiso campus and then airlifted to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

Porter County police said the boy was set on fire about 8:30 p.m. when one of his older brothers reacted in a panic to the ignition of a gas can and attempted to toss it out a garage door without knowing the 2-year-old boy was standing in the doorway.

“It was pretty scary,” said Gail Mannington, a neighbor who assisted Christopher and his mother, Lynn Madden, while emergency personnel were on their way. “Bless his heart. I just hope he’s going to be OK.”

Gene Ford of Riley Children’s Hospital said Christopher was in critical condition Thursday afternoon.

The teenage boy and another teenage boy, both older brothers of Christopher, police said, were working on a mo-ped in the garage at their home in the 500 block of Glenwood Drive in the northwest corner of Center Township when the accident happened.

The boys told police they were siphoning gas from the mo-ped when some of it spilled onto the garage floor. One of the boys then started the mo-ped and said it ignited the spilled gas and the gas can, which was sitting nearby, police said in their report.

When one of the boys saw the gas can had ignited, he ran to it and tried tossing it out the door, where Christopher was standing.

The boys told police Christopher became engulfed in flames as the gas can careened and landed under a car in the driveway.

Mannington and her family were eating dinner at their home on Kingston Drive across the street from the Maddens when her son noticed the fire.

Mannington, a nurse at Porter hospital’s Valparaiso campus, said she keeps a fire extinguisher in her front closet at all times, ran across the street to put the fire out. She said the gas can under the car and the doorway were on fire when she arrived.

Mannington said she ran inside the home to find out what happened when she saw Lynn Madden on the phone and Christopher sitting on a couch crying.

“He was burned from his head down to his toes,” Mannington said of the boy.

Madden was on the phone speaking with emergency personnel at the time Mannington arrived.

Mannington said she asked the teenage boys to get some cold, wet towels to wrap around Christopher. She said she applied ice bags outside the towels to help cool the young boy.

“His face appeared to be burned and the inside of his mouth,” Mannington said. “His skin was fluffing off his arms and legs.”

Mannington, who said she doesn’t know much about the Maddens other than the fact they live in the neighborhood, went with Lynn Madden and Christopher in the ambulance to Porter hospital.

Mannington said a helicopter was being prepped to airlift Christopher as they were on their way to the hospital. She was told he could not be flown to Chicago because of area thunderstorms.

Police and fire officials are still trying to determine the exact cause of the fire.

Porter County police Deputy Chief David Lain said Detective Andy Hrivnak has been assigned to investigate the case further.

Police said numerous cigarette butts, firecracker remnants and bottle rocket sticks were found strewn about the garage. A burnt diaper, apparently belonging to Christopher, was found near the burnt gas can with a bottle rocket stick and a cigarette butt nearby.

The teenage boys admitted to police they both smoke but were not smoking at the time of the accident. Police found a lighter in one of the boys’ pockets and confiscated it for evidence.

The police report also states the key one of the teenage boys said he used to start the mo-ped could not be found. When asked by police to restart the mo-ped, one of the boys went to his room inside the house to get “the other key.”

Valparaiso Fire Deputy Chief Dan Lamb on Thursday was skeptical of the boys’ claim that the fire ignited when they started the mo-ped.

“Right now, the heat source is undetermined,” Lamb said. “The kids out there are saying it was the mo-ped that ignited the gasoline container. I don’t think it was.”

Lamb said the house was not damaged by the fire, nor was the mo-ped. The car in the driveway suffered minimal damage under one of its bumpers.

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