Gavin Ohs was born on June 7, 2012, with a large congenital melanocytic nevus of the scalp which is a large mole present at birth caused by a disorder of pigment-producing skin cells. This is a condition, according to nevus.org, that occurs in every 1 out of 20,000 births.
After meeting with a dermatologist, Gavin’s mother, Kady, was referred to a plastic surgeon. One of the risks with a nevus is it becoming a melanoma. Gavin’s first surgery occurred on November 11, 2013, at just 17 months old. He would endure a total of five surgeries.
Since the family lives three hours from the hospital that performed Gavin’s surgeries, they opted to use home care to help with his needed saline fills. Joni Erlewein, Gerber Home Care, was Gavin’s nurse. She came to the Ohs home to help and teach them how to do Gavin’s saline fills. At first Kady was only going to have Joni for a few visits to teach her how to do the saline fills. Part way through the process, Gavin’s doctor increased the amount of saline and reduced the time of administration to only one and a half weeks. Kady decided to keep Joni for the remainder of the fills, to make sure they were not over filling and there was a smooth end of the journey for her son.
Gavin, who is almost three now, grew to love Joni. He tends to be shy and has always been a little timid with medical procedures and equipment. What struck Kady as amazing? Gavin referred to Joni as his “friend!” When she came to visit, Joni would take his blood pressure, temperature, pulse ox and more. Her caring attitude helped Gavin become comfortable with the medical equipment—even helping Joni. She took the time to explain everything and by letting Gavin (and his sister) help her, they both became comfortable with the equipment.
“I feel this will help in the future when he sees there is nothing to be scared of,” said Kady.
Although Gavin’s time with Joni was short, she left a life-long impression on he and his family.