Thursday, October 15, 2009

Plastic surgery update

So, to continue the saga of the CT scans...

Radiology in DC overnighted the disc to Dr. Magee in Norfolk and he received it on Wednesday. He did look at them and he was able to rule out a concern - that the bone grafts didn't take. I guess there are people that can have a bone issue where the bone grafts are reabsorbed by the body, thus, they don't take. Luckily, that isn't the case with Harlie. Whew!

Her bone graft seemed to take just fine. He's thinking that it just didn't grow at the same rate as the rest of her head. And to be honest, as I was thinking about it today, I think I remember him telling us a long time ago that it is hard to say how she will grow. Since it is abnormal to begin with, it would be hard to assume that it will grow normally from here on out. I don't know what this means as far as her future goes. Since I wasn't having a conversation with him, I certainly couldn't ask him questions. I'll just have to ask him that one later.

So, he said that he thinks another bone graft jaw reconstruction is the way to go. He said that we can pick our surgery date for anytime after the first of the year. I'll call his scheduler tomorrow to see what our options are. And then I guess we'll look at Tom's work schedule so we can try to make it for a week that he's not beginning a kitchen project. The good thing is that it is not a long hospitalization. Although I am certainly not looking forward to that recovery, either.

Her first jaw reconstruction was awful. And we couldn't prepare ourselves for all the emotions and recovery issues. But this time we'll be better on all fronts. For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about... here's a summary of the surgery:

They harvest bone from her skull to insert in her jaw.
They use donor bone to replace what was taken from her skull.
They cut her jaw on both sides, and insert the bone from her skull and connect it with screws and pins.
They wire her jaw shut, with her bottom teeth pulled out and over her top teeth and a wire that runs underneath her skin is connected to a screw in the bone between her eyes.
She will stay wired shut for at least 9 weeks.
Then they remove the wires so she can open her mouth again.

I'm not looking forward to the wound care. There will be a large incision in her head (they will shave her hair only at the incision). And she will have three incisions under her jaw - right above her trach ties. Ugh. Plus, there will be bruising. And swelling. Lots of bruising and lots of swelling. You can see the pictures from her first surgery under Photo Albums on the left.

But, for now, I won't think about that. I just want her to be able to breathe through her nose and mouth so she can learn how to talk and eat. That's all. And this surgery will get us there. Eventually.

On another note...

I've been sick all week. Which stinks because I'm totally off my training for my half marathon. I haven't been able to run all week. But, I am so lucky to have so many wonderful, caring people around me. My neighbor went and picked up Murphy from school yesterday and let him play over there for the rest of the afternoon, so I could stay in bed. And Jennifer (my nurse on Wednesdays) was the one that called my neighbor to tell her that I was sick. Seriously, how great is it that my nurses can call my neighbor?? As far as home health care goes, that has to be rare!

But Tom made me go to the doctor. It was all cold and rainy outside and I had to get out of my nice cozy bed to go to the doctor - for a cold! He wanted to make sure I didn't have the swine flu. I don't. It's just a cold. A bad cold. But, I do believe that I'm getting better. Today was better than yesterday, so that's good. Of course, Tom is a few days behind me, cold-wise. He bounces back faster than anyone I know, so hopefully his won't last too long.

Now I need to get some rest. Thank you for all your comments and private messages! I love having your support - it makes such a difference!



Allie said...

Just wanted to add my name to the hat for peeps you can count on after the surgery. And before the surgery. And during the surgery. And whenever.

Susan said...

That's great news! The surgery won't be fun but we must do what we must do, right? I'm sick too and am headed off for a nap right now. I've had a terrible headache for days and days. Being sick stinks! Hope you're feeling better soon.