Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homefront Battle Footage

This week we have had our own little battlefield at our home. We kicked off Monday with taking Alex to the surgery center at 7:30 am. A very thoughtful friend came to help get the kids off to school and spend the morning with Chloe and Coop.

Patient #1

Alex was pretty anxious about getting the IV put in. Around 9 am (just after Alex's IV was placed) the doctor came in and asked if we would mind waiting a few hours while he was assisted by another surgeon in a procedure for another patient. We reluctantly said, "Yes," as it meant quite a bit of inconvenience for us figuring out what to do with the kids, and for Alex fasting a much longer time. In the end it meant spending the whole day at the surgery center.
At about 1:45 pm Alex was finally wheeled back by a great nurse anesthetist. She really calmed his fears with her fun personality. She left him know that all she wanted to hear from him when he woke up was "DUDE." We were told that Alex's final words before falling asleep were about him pitching in a world series baseball game. Birch and I snuggled on the uncomfortable waiting room chairs for the next two and half hours and read, slept a bit, and Birch prepared a talk that he was giving the youth yesterday on being strong and courageous (very fitting).
Traditional pre-op photo with Alex

Dr. Ryan Black feels like the surgery was a success. The stenosis that Dr. Black thought was soft scar tissue ended up being bone, which necessitated drilling the bone away. He also ended up taking a small skin graft from behind his opposite ear to cover the area in the ear canal that he had drilled. After drilling and tucking the skin graft under his skin he formed a thermoplast plug wrapped in gauze to hold the skin in place so it will grow into the outlying skin. This thermoplast will be removed in a couple of weeks.
Skin graft site

Alex was a champ. He didn't feel awesome for several hours after waking up from the surgery. The anesthesiologist explained that the more times you are put to sleep, the more drugs you need in future surgeries (I'm thinking this is his fourteenth time being put to sleep). We finally got home at 5:30 pm; Alex threw up once not long after and then felt much better. He stayed home the next day from school but was able to return the following day. A big shout out to my friend Tara who ended up watching, transporting, and picking up my kids throughout the day. We sure have been blessed with wonderful friends!

Patient #2

Since this was going to be such a fun week we decided we might as well throw in another surgery (plus we have now met our family medical deductible). Tyler was born with this little thing on his neck. Over the years I have asked his pediatrician about it and I was just given the run around with no real answers. This summer it was cosmetically really bothering him. Every two weeks or so the little thing pops and some clear liquid oozes out of it. Tyler was really picking at it and was embarrassed by its appearance.

In July I started taking Tyler to see a dermatologist. She used silver nitrate to "burn" the area and killed off some fatty cells. In the end after several treatments and several hundred dollars we were left with the same thing. While taking Alex to an appointment at Dr. Black's office I noticed on his business card that he also treats neck in came Tyler. Dr. Black decided that what Tyler had is called a brachial cleft cyst (lump that develops in the neck or just below the collarbone. It is a type of birth defect.)
The dark circle is Tyler's brachial cleft cyst.

Brachial cleft cysts form during development of the embryo. They occur when tissues in the neck and collarbone area (brachial cleft) fail to develop normally.

A brachial cleft cyst may form from fluid drained from a sinus. The cyst or sinus can become infected. The choice of treatment is to have the cyst surgically removed.Tyler was super nervous about getting the IV put in but you wouldn't have known that. He was super brave and only a few tears crept out of his eyes.

Following tradition I had to get my picture taken with Tyler before heading back to surgery.
The procedure took about a half an hour. After Tyler was put to sleep the doctor injected some blue dye into the cyst opening so see if there was a tract connecting to the cyst and then attaching to his throat. He then put a microscopic camera down his throat to look for any dye and didn't see any. Yeah!! If there had been it would have meant some more decisions about what to do. The cyst ended up being very small and only about 1 mm. under Tyler's skin. It was easily removed then stitched right up just like a baseball. Tyler did awesome and the nurses all complemented him on what a sweet kid he is! He's spending the day resting and watching movies.

Since there was no school for Veterans Day, Alex was able to take good care of the kids this morning while Birch and I were at the surgery center. Birch was able to stay home a couple of hours before heading to work for the afternoon. Again we are overwhelmed with the wonderful medical care that our family has been blessed by.

Not only am I thankful for the veterans that have fought to keep our country free but also for the heroes right in my own family that have fought a good medical fight too!


kg said...

What a week! Glad it all went well, what troopers you have!

emily a. said...

Brave boys.

laura said...

Good to know that everything turned out well. Your boys were in our thoughts and prayers.