Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Surgery Day!

Chase is to report to MUSC Admissions tomorrow at 5:30 AM for his second heart surgery. We took him in today for his pre-op appointment, thinking it would just involve bloodwork and maybe a chest x-ray. We were there for 3 hours. The good thing was they moved us along pretty well, it's just that it was much more than we were expecting. We were planning at some point to meet with the surgeon, Dr. Bradley, to ask questions and discuss the procedure but had no idea it would be part of our visit today. Hubs and I scrambled to write up our questions as we took Chase down for his chest x-ray. They were able to draw his blood (after only 2 sticks) and took all of his vitals. Hubs spoke with one of the anesthesiologists while I was helping hold Chase down for his bloodwork. We both sat down and talked with Dr. Bradley about his surgery.
  • Chase will have the bidirectional Glenn procedure. At a VERY high-level (I have no medical degree, folks), this basically means removing the gortex BT shunt that was placed during his first surgery, disconnecting his superior vena cava (SVC) from his heart and connecting it to the right pulmonary artery (RPA).
  • Dr. Bradley will also patch Chase's pulmonary arteries (both right and left) since both of them are narrowed. This will help make them larger and is very typical for this procedure.
  • While his echos have shown a mild to moderate leak in his tricuspid valve, Dr. Bradley does not plan to address this during tomorrow's surgery. The circulatory changes with this procedure will relieve some of the workload from his heart, which should in turn decrease the valve insufficiency.
  • The narrowing of Chase's aorta (coarctation) may or may not be addressed tomorrow. Basically, the cath procedure from last Thursday, where they ballooned the narrow section, did increase the size a bit but certainly not enough to eliminate the added pressure of blood flow through the area. This causes unnecessary added stress on his heart. Dr. Bradley will attempt to get to the coarctation and see how difficult it would be to access the area through the scar tissue. If he feels he can get to it safely, he will do so and will patch the area similar to how he'll patch the pulmonary arteries. If he can't address the coarctation surgically, we'll be bringing Chase back to MUSC in a few months for another cath procedure to balloon the narrowing. We'll continue to repeat this until the narrowing goes away.

So that's our game plan in a nutshell. We'll take Chase in at 5:30 AM, head to the surgical holding area, and they'll take him back to begin around 6:15 AM. Anesthesia will get started first and prepare the way for Dr. Bradley to begin around 7:30 AM. The longest part of the surgery will most likely be cutting through the scar tissue that's formed since his first surgery -- this could take 1 to 3 hours, depending on the amount of scar tissue. We will get a pager around 8AM and should receive our first update on Chase at 9:00 AM. I will update the blog, Facebook and Twitter with each of the pager messages I get, which should be close to hourly starting at 9AM.

Please pray along with us for a successful surgery. I know Chase is strong and I know God has a plan and purpose for his life. I know this is the road God chose for us and for Chase before he was even conceived and I am proud to walk this journey by his side. I am so very thankful for my husband, who is holding my hand along the way, and for the blessing of our sweet LO. And for the support of our family and friends who have lifted us up in prayer. God has been so good to me and to my family, and I believe His grace is sufficient to see us through another surgery as His power is made perfect in our weakness (and boy do I know I'll be at my very weakest in the morning when I hand my baby boy over for another heart surgery!).

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers tomorrow!

Random Musings

It's been a few days since my last post (when Chase was discharged) and the family has been enjoying some "together time" in anticipation of Chase's surgery tomorrow. I'm finding it hard, especially this morning, that each time I do something (change his diaper, nurse him, give a bottle, kiss his forehead, tickle him 'til he giggles), that it will be the last time I get to do that something for several days. I haven't begun thinking about physically turning him over to the surgical team in the morning... I'll probably wait until later tonight or tomorrow morning to officially begin to get worked up about this next surgery. On the one hand, I'm looking forward to it because it's going to relieve some stress from his heart after the circulatory changes are completed with this procedure, he'll be healthier and able to do "normal baby" stuff (like meet his family and church friends!). On the other hand, I'm a mommy and it obviously scares me to death to know my baby is having his chest opened and heart replumbed again. We'll have several days of recovery, of watching my baby lie in his bed in the PCICU completely doped up on pain meds to keep him comfortable, a breathing tube down his throat, IVs and lines everywhere... I know what to expect this time around, but it surely won't make it any easier. The first time around, he was my newborn baby: so tiny, precious and new. This time around, he's my son: a melancholy personality, full of smiles and giggles who likes to be comforted in mommy's arms. I know him. He's part of our family. He makes our family complete. This will be hard.

We haven't been given anything "official" in writing or anything that says his surgery is scheduled for tomorrow; but we heard it from several reputable sources (including the surgeon Dr. Bradley). We also have to take Chase to MUSC at noon today for some pre-op blood work and possibly some other tests (echo, x-ray, etc.). And the fact that they discontinued his aspirin last week all add up (to me, anyway) to mean that his surgery is a go for tomorrow.

Now, hubs and I haven't had an opportunity to sit down with Dr. Bradley and discuss the surgery yet. We don't know how long it will take, what exactly he plans to accomplish, what risks are involved, etc. As far as we know, there isn't a meeting scheduled yet for this to happen. I can't imagine it will be first thing tomorrow morning before his surgery... Hubs and I have some questions we'll want to ask as well, so we're expecting some kind of meeting will be scheduled prior to his surgery.

((On a related note, I just got a phone call from MUSC Admissions calling to confirm Chase's information for his procedure tomorrow... Guess we're on!))

Please be praying for my sweet baby boy as he prepares to go in for another life-saving operation. My hope and prayer is that his recovery this time around will be much quicker and easier than his first surgery when he was 7 days old. I will keep everyone updated on things here, and on Twitter and Facebook.

Oh, and I also plan to write a post explaining the Bidirectional Glenn procedure so you all will know a little bit about what is going to happen during the surgery.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and prayers!