Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Post-Op Update

I was completely exhausted yesterday, so I never updated after the surgery.
The procedure started at 12:04, and the doctor came out to talk with us around 12:25.  I was shocked!  He said CJ did great.  There was no bone growth around the bar, and they were able to just straighten it a little and pull it out as planned.
We were able to go back to recovery once he woke up a little bit.  Sitting on the bed with him was his pectus bar!  Thankfully, they had cleaned it up really well for us!  It's narrower than we expected.  Here it is:
The recovery nurse gave him some apple juice and vanilla wafers.  He needed some food in his stomach before taking the oral pain medication.  He needed to have good pain management on the oral medication before we could be released.  We stayed in recovery until almost 2:30.  At that time, we were discharged and able to head home! 
CJ spent the rest of the day alternating between sleeping and eating.  I think he was making up for all the eating he couldn't do between midnight and after the surgery!  (He is a teenage boy, after all!)  We were told to avoid heavy/fried foods for a while until his digestive system was able to get the anesthesia completely out of its system, because it could have caused nausea.  Otherwise, there were no restrictions on his diet.
He had some pain and a little swelling at the left incision site, but they said to expect that. That was the side the stabilizer was on.  I don't know if that's why that side was more swollen & sore, or if maybe that was the side the bar was pulled out.  Overall, though, the pain meds were doing their job.
CJ slept through the night without needing additional pain meds.  He woke up around 9:45AM asking for some, though.  The incision sites look good.  He still has some swelling & tenderness on the left side, but it's nothing to worry about.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Today's the Day!

It's finally time for this journey to end.  We arrived at the hospital and checked in at 10:00AM.  CJ's surgery was scheduled for 11:30.  They did the usual height/weight/BP stuff, then they took us to pre-op where we met with the anesthesiologist, had the IV put in, and saw the surgeon.  CJ reiterated to just about everyone that he wanted to keep the bar...looks like that is going to happen.  LOL!

Thankfully, things were running fairly on schedule, and they took him back just after 11:30.  The procedure should take about 30-45 minutes.  There is a possibility that some bone has grown around the bar.  If that is the case, it may take a little longer, because they will need to chisel around the bar to get it out.  Overall, though, it's a fairly simple procedure of straightening the bar, and pulling it out.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Three Years & Time to Come Out!

Wow!  It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since CJ had his bar put in!  A lot has changed in 3 years:  CJ has grown to 5'10" and become quite an amazing & active young man.  He's driving, has a job, and just finished his sophomore year of high school.
He's gained a lot of weight, too.  Many children with PE tend to be below average in their weight.  This was the case with CJ.  He was always very thin, but his weight is now in the average range.  Whenever he had growth spurts, he would have twinges in the bar area, but it was never really bad or long lasting. 
Last week, we went to the surgeon for CJ's 3-year follow-up.  The x-ray showed everything was perfect, and the doctor OK'd scheduling the bar removal!  They asked when we'd like to schedule it, and we joked that having it done that afternoon would be great!  They weren't quite ready for that, so in two weeks, we'll check in for the procedure. 
Believe it or not, the removal of the bar is an outpatient procedure!  The surgeon will make incisions on both sides of the bar (probably where the scars already are), remove the stabilizer that helped hold the bar in place, straighten the bar slightly, and pull it out!  It should be a fairly quick procedure, and we'll be able to take CJ home after spending some time in recovery.  The doc also said he should be able to be back to normal activities within a couple of days!  That's just amazing to me.  Pain management shouldn't be an issue, either.
As with any procedure, there are some risks.  The bar could cause some damage to the heart or lungs, but those are very rare complications.  And of course, there is the risk of infection (we know all about that one!), but the doctor said that having a foreign body put INTO you poses a greater risk of infection than one coming OUT.  :)  We are trusting and praying that we have no complications this time around!
I will post again on surgery day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Post-Op 1 Year!

We went to see the doctor for CJ's 1-year follow-up.  An x-ray was taken, and the doctor confirmed that the bar is still in place where it needs to be.  We are free and clear for another year!

The time table for now is as follows:
--A 2-year post-op follow-up in 2016
--Removal of the bar 3 years after the insertion in 2017

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oh Happy Day!

CJ had appointments this morning with the Infectious Diseases doctor and the surgeon.  For the last 6 weeks, we've been taking CJ to the hospital to have blood drawn.  He continued his oral antibiotics.  Our hope was that since his blood work has been within normal levels the last several times, CJ would be released from the ID doctor's care.  We were ALL tired of antibiotics!

Happily, Dr. Han agreed to let CJ discontinue his antibiotics.  He wants CJ to have some blood drawn in a month to make sure the levels are staying within normal range and the infection isn't coming back.  Yay!

When we checked in to the surgeon's office, they sent us for an X-ray.  After looking at it, Dr. Dassinger said every thing looked great, and he was pleased with CJ's progress.  Of course, he hates that we were the 1% that has to deal with an infection, but he was glad to hear CJ had been able to discontinue antibiotics.

So, we go back for blood work the first week of November, and hopefully, the results will show that we truly are finished with the staph infection.  We love Dr. Han, but we really don't want to see him again!  LOL!

Unless problems arise, we are on a normal post-op schedule with the surgeon.  We'll see him in May 2015 at the year mark of the bar insertion.  Assuming all is well, we won't see him again until May 2016.

I'll post again when we hear about the blood work next month.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Quick Update

Just a quick update to say that CJ is continuing to do well!  He's still on the oral antibiotic 3 times a day, and the healing at the incision sites is progressing.  His last lab work showed everything staying in normal ranges.  We go back to the Infectious Diseases doctor next week.  I'll post again after that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Freedom! And summer finally begins!

CJ had an appointment with his ID doctor today, and we were VERY hopeful that the PICC line would be removed.  The lab work showed everything within normal ranges!  And since the incisions were closed and not draining, we had every reason to have that hope.  CJ was so confident, he actually wore his swim suit to the doctor's office, so I could drop him off at the pool on the way home!  Remember, he hasn't been able to swim yet this summer.  And he usually practically lives at the pool during the summer.

The doctor came in and talked to us.  He asked if there had been any fever or pain.  We were pleased to be able to answer no.  He then asked both of us if we were comfortable with removing the PICC.  We both said yes.  Then the doctor said those words we were longing to hear:  he was going to pull the PICC!

CJ had been really nervous that the process of pulling the PICC.  He was worried it would hurt.  That was the only apprehension he was feeling when the nurse came in to pull the line. 

When the nurse came in, it took a few minutes for her to get set up and remove the tape & stuff securing the line into the arm.  When that was done, she told CJ to take a deep breath.  He looked away and took the breath.  What he didn't know, was that while he was breathing in, the nurse was pulling the line, wrapping it around her hand like yarn.  As CJ let out his breath, the nurse said, "OK.  That's it."  CJ's eyes got wide, and he was completely surprised that it was already done!  I really wish I had a picture of his face; it was priceless.  Obviously, it didn't hurt; it was a quick and painless procedure. 

Here's a picture of the PICC line:

While CJ held a cotton ball on the hole where the line was, the nurse measured the length of the PICC line.  It's important that the length of the line that was pulled out equals the length of the line that was inserted; obviously, no one wants any pieces of the line left in the body.  I'm not sure what would happen if the measurement didn't match; thankfully, ours was spot-on.

The doctor prescribed CJ an oral antibiotic that he'll take for another 2 months.  It's a hefty dose:  1000mg cephalexin 3 times a day.  Unfortunately, we are still on a 6:00AM, 2:00PM, 10:00PM medication schedule, but at least it's just quickly swallowing a couple of pills instead of a 30-minute hook-up.

CJ was so excited about the PICC line being out!  Then came the words that completely deflated him.  The doctor said he didn't want CJ swimming for another couple of days while to make sure the site for the line was healed.

As we left the doctor's office, CJ's attitude was on a downhill slide.  He wanted me to just drop him off at the pool anyway; he'd waited to swim long enough.  I was afraid we were about to have a long argument, when a thunderstorm rolled in to the area.  Thankfully, this took care of the problem; the storm closed the pool for the rest of the day.