Monday, November 10, 2008

Emily's Surgery

After a year of prayer, research and talking with several doctors, Eli and I decided to proceed to surgery for removal of the hemangioma on her arm and laser the hemangioma on her hand. Our decision was accelerated by our upcoming move to San Antonio. The doctor is very experienced and the hospital is among the top 5 in the nation, so we had to take advantage! The date set for her surgery is next Thursday, November 13th, so please pray that Emily will be healthy and strong that day.
Just to give a little explanation, hemangiomas are vascular birthmarks commonly found in preemies. They appear a few weeks after birth and typically are located on the head or neck. Usually they grow until the baby is about a year old, and then begin to shrink and involute completely. The hemangiomas cause no pain to Emily (and is probably more painful for us parents to bear all of the awful and thoughtless comments). We had a hard time figuring out which treatment to go with, but we figured out that Emily is immune to steroids (she was given steroids for her eczema) which is an alternative approach. God made Emily perfectly and in His image, and she is beautiful regardless. However, the hemangioma on her arm is growing to the crease, meaning that she soon won't be able to bend her arm. Also, since it is protruding so much, it wont ever involute completely and a pouch of scarred excess skin will remain.
You can read more about hemangiomas by clicking here.
The procedure should be pretty low risk and is only 30 minutes, but of course, we're still very Check Spellinganxious about several things. I'm concerned that she'll have a hard time coming out of the anesthesia and of course the risk of infection is always a problem. Also, I hate to think of her being taken away from us again. It sounds silly, I know, but she's still so tiny and she'll have to lay on the operating table with monitors and tubes in a scary place without Mommy or Daddy. During her heart surgery, she was already in the hospital environment, already intubated, had monitors, and we were used to visiting her. It's a different story now, especially since Emily still cries if I leave the room! I hate that she has to fast before the surgery--maybe it's not such a big deal to some parents, but to a mom of a 16lb-15 month old, I really feel like she needs all the calories she can get!
Here's how the surgery will go:
1) There will be 3 stages of anesthesia. First she will drink medicine to make her woozy, and she won't put up such a fight when she is taken away by the nurses. Then comes the laughing gas, followed by the topical anesthesia.
2) She will be intubated and put on monitors. The doctor will first cauterize the hemangioma on the left arm and will stitch the surrounding skin together with dissolvable stitches. That wound will be covered with essentially skin glue and a soft wrap. Afterwards they will laser the one on her hand, which will stunt the growth, reduce the color pigmentation, and decrease the size.
3) After she awakens and the anesthesia wears off, Eli and I will be allowed to sit with her. Later on that day Emily will be discharged along with pain medication.
Her down time will only be a few days. If you have a very curious baby, any tips on what we can do to keep her still for a few days? The total recovery time could be up to 6 weeks, but she always heals quickly, so we're hoping that by Thanksgiving she'll be back to her normal self. We are asking you to pray hard for a safe operation and a safe recovery for our sweet Emily!
Here's the first picture of the hemangioma when Emily was 5 weeks old.
Here's how much it grew in 5 months

Here it is in July

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a cute family!