Monday, September 27, 2010

Surgery date

Dear Family and Friends,

Sophia's surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, October 26.

The nurse told me today that Dr. Manning said there was no rush.  Such a relief to hear those words after the anxiety and urgency that we felt in July after her first bronchoscopy.  Well, actually after the anxiety we have felt most of the summer.  In retrospect, we can see how at other times in her life, the doctors changed their opinions regarding timing, or other details, surrounding issues she's had.  More information often seems to result in changes.  And those changes have been for Sophia's good, and God's glory.  We've seen God take merciful and tender care of Sophia.  How He has given His wisdom and skill to the wonderful doctors and nurses, the respiratory therapists and pulmonologists who have treated her. And His timing has always been perfect.  

The nurse told me that after the surgery, Sophia will need to have very limited interaction with people outside the family for about a month.  If she were to contract a respiratory infection, or some other illness, it would be very painful and detrimental to her health.  So, although it felt a bit selfish, we decided to wait to do the surgery until after our church's Scottish Ball, which is on the 22nd.  We know she is excited about the Ball, (well, of course the whole family is!) and we want her to be able to go.

We will be in Cincy on the 25th for her precertification for the surgery.  Then, after the surgery, she should be at the hospital for about 3 days.  The surgeon, Dr. Manning, sent us an email explaining the details of the surgery.  Here is what he told us:

In most cases when we do an aortopexy, we suture the pericardium that is near the junction of the aorta and its first main branch (the innominate artery) to the sternum.  In Sophia’s case, because things have shifted so much, I doubt we could bring the aorta all the way to the sternum, but using a longer flap of pericardium, or even some of the capsule that has formed around the implant, we want to move it toward the sternum or even the ribs just to the right of the sternum.  If we could move the aorta about an inch, I think we would make a pretty big impact, even though that doesn’t seem like such a massive move.  It’s a little hard to predict how long the operation would take because she’s been operated on before, and you never know exactly how much scarring you will run into.  This would just slow things down a bit.  I expect that things will take in the 2-3 hour range.  It would be done under general anesthesia, of course, which would include intubation during the operation, but we would expect her to be extubated in the operating room at the end of the procedure.  No special diet.  All I care is that she get as many calories in a good, balanced diet in order to promote rapid healing.  We will plan on going back through the same skin incision.  I am ordering a replacement implant (same style, just a bit bigger) to have available if we decide to replace the current one.  I definitely want to leave one in, but we will have to see when we are in there whether we can just leave the current one, or swap to a new one.

He sent us a picture - one of her ct-scan images - to help explain it, but I'm not sure I can figure out how to get that on here.  If only I knew someone who knew a bit about computers.....


I'll see if I can do something about that tomorrow.

Thank you all for praying for our little treasure.



  1. It's just amazing what these doctors can do! And I don't think it's selfish at all to wait until after the ball as long as the doctors say it's okay. I promise not to take Kate to the Borre's before the ball and not at all unless I'm prepared to quarantine the whole family! :)

  2. Well, her surgery is on my birthday so it will be easy for me to remember and pray for her throughout the day. Our love to all of you!