Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Surgery results

This could get long even though I'm too tired to go into all of the details so I'll just give you the very short version up front: Drew had his surgery today and came through it well.

Now for some details. He was taken to the OR around 1:30 p.m. CST. When I saw them wheel his bed out of the nursery and to the elevators, I broke down. Talk about feeling helpless. Drew's nurse came over and comforted me...she's such a great nurse.

Anyway, we then went down to the surgery waiting room to begin the long wait. Around 3:30 p.m., the surgeon came out and spoke to us. This is where I'm not going to get into a ton of detail, just touch on the major points for now.

Drew actually did very well during the procedure--he kept his numbers up and tolerated everything. Raymond and I both kind of expected that Drew would be missing up to half of his diaphragm. Turns out he's missing more like 80%. It was a MASSIVE hernia. They put in a gore-tex patch and had to stitch it in kind of strangely since Drew didn't have much diaphragm to attach it to. The hope is that the diaphgram will continue to grow and attach to the patch since that's there for life.

Drew's stomach, spleen, intestines and part of his liver were in the left side of his chest. That's a TON of stuff up there. The good news is that it appears that he has everything he needs. Some of it doesn't look anatomically "normal," but that shouldn't be a problem. Now we just have to see if it will all work like it's supposed to.

It's pretty much a given that we'll be dealing with serious reflux issues. The diaphragm is usually formed tightly around the esophagus. It's loose in Drew. They will initially try to treat any reflux with medicine. We will also have to see if his digestive tract will absorb nutrients like it should. A feeding tube might be needed.

Drew will never be able to use his diaphragm normally like we do when we breathe. He's missing a nerve that communicates from the brain to the diaphragm telling the diaphragm to contract. His body will compensate for that using his abdominal muscles and intercostal (rib) muscles so as far as he knows, that will be the "normal" way to breathe.

They were not able to stitch up the abdominal muscles because of all of the organs down there now. The space was filled with fluid, now it's filled with organs. His stitches are widely spaced and just the skin. It will take a few weeks for enough scar tissue to form so that he won't tear open (lovely picture, I know). So now he basically has a hiatal hernia that will have to be surgically repaired down the line.

Now for the lung issue. They just left the right side alone; nothing wrong over there so they just left it alone. He's got a little lung "bud" on the left side, about 20-25% of a normal lung. The hope is that now it has room and will grow; lungs continue to grow for the first 6-8 years of life. He will never have a normal sized lung and will probably be limited in physical activities but we've expected that since finding out about his condition.

They left the heart completely alone. It should move over into a more normal position on it's own over time.

Drew was also given a larger ET tube (vent tube) as he outgrew the old one and had a leak.

Raymond and I saw him immediately after his surgery. His entire torso has changed--he's got a little pot belly now and his chest looks more normal. It had never registered with me that his torso looked so different until I saw it after surgery.

He will remain paralyzed tonight and probably most of tomorrow. Drew's carbon dioxide and ph numbers were VERY bad immediately after surgery but are getting closer to normal as time goes on. His ph is already back in the normal range.

Believe it or not, that's the fairly short version of things. The main thing is that he came through surgery ok and his body is trying to stabalize itself again. It's been a long day.


Jennifer Hodges said...

That is great news! Praise God that he did good through the surgery. We will still be praying for everyone. Love you. Jennifer