Monday, May 16, 2011
Details on Grace
I haven't blogged over the last week or so primarily because I have found myself in an insecure and dark place. While I have enjoyed my time with Christian, Jack and Grace, the pending surgery is always on my mind. Based on my experiences I know that when I am most insecure, I am also more likely to be snarky and mean. I didn't want to put that energy out into the world for others to read and absorb.
I am feeling stronger now and have come to accept that we are going to have to walk through this challenge with Grace's health. We cannot go around it or avoid it. I am her Mother and will be there every step of the way.
I feel so blessed to have a solid support of family and friends who have offered help with everything from watching Jack, to bringing food, to prayers and cards and words of support. I am so grateful and feel your love!
I wanted to share the details of Grace's procedure on Thursday and the path we are looking at over the next few months and possibly years. On Thursday morning Grace will go into surgery at The Children's Hospital. This first surgery is called a closed reduction. Grace will be placed under general anesthesia (thankfully because she is breastfed she will only have to go four hours without eating prior to surgery) and I will be able to stay with her until she is put under. I am nervous about my ability to be tough through that process but I want to be there for her. The surgery should only last 50 minutes.
The first step is to do an arthrogram. This is where dye is placed in each hip joint with a needle so that an X-ray will show what is going on inside and around the hip joint more clearly. The purpose is to determine if there is tissue in the joints. If so, they will wake Grace up and she will have a more serious surgery in a few months. This is not what we want. However, if the joints are clear of tissue they will use the dye to place the hip joints in the best possible position prior to casting. If they go this route she will also have an adductor tenotomy. An adductor tenotomy is where they cut each groin muscle to allow the hip socket to be more relaxed for better results while in the cast. Before she wakes up she will be placed in a spica cast. I am very nervous about her care while in the cast.
After being in the cast for six weeks, Grace will go back in for an additional surgery. She will be placed under anesthesia again and another arthrogram will be preformed to determine the progress of her healing. She will be placed in a new spica cast and will remain in the cast for an additional six weeks. After a total of 12 weeks Grace will be removed from the cast and will be placed in a brace for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
My prayer is that she will be casted this week and will not need more invasive surgeries. The surgeon did warn us that there is a 50% chance Grace will need the more invasive surgery in a few months. She also warned us that depending on how Grace's body heals and develops she may need additional surgeries throughout her childhood (hence the dark place I sometimes find myself in). Regardless Grace will have to return to the doctor regularly throughout her childhood to monitor her growth and development with the risk of her having to have surgery if the results are not good.
This is not a life threatening illness and for that I am abundantly grateful. However, it is a life altering condition. If we do not fix this now Grace will likely develop arthritis in her hips during her teen years and would likely need hip replacements early in life. Not repairing this would make it hard for her to ever carry a pregnancy or manage as an adult without chronic pain. It is important that we address and repair this condition now.
I have so much fear right now. Fear that she will have horrible side effects to the anesthesia. Fear that she will not get better and will have to live her life in pain. Fear about caring for her with a body cast. Fear of being too exhausted to function. I am full of worry even though I know worry is fruitless.
The one fear I have about myself is that I will fail my family through this process. I am so scared I will not be strong enough to handle this challenge. I don't want to disappoint the three people who love me the most.
There are two conversations with my mother that I keep remembering. The first happened a few years ago. We were talking about travel and my mother said to me, "You aren't scared of anything. You will travel anywhere in the world without worry." I interrupted her then with a laugh and told her that I am always terrified when I travel alone to strange cities and have to rent a car and find my hotel and meet with people. I have always been so intimidated to do new things and meet new people but apparently she didn't see this. And I see now that doing something in the face of fear does not make me weak. It makes me brave.
The second conversation happened on this Mother's Day. I was thanking her for taking care of us as children because I know she did not have an easy time and I told her she was so tough. My mom said to me, "April, you are so much tougher than I ever was." My mom believes in me. She thinks I can do and handle whatever is thrown my way. These things offer me encouragement. I think during this time I have to find my strength through the faith others have in me. Also a friend sent some good insight. She offered that God would not give us more than we can handle and he must trust that I am strong enough to handle this.
So here we go. Please pray for my sweet family. I do love my life so much. God did not pull me out of a tough upbringing and drag me through my tumultuous twenties to leave me broken in my thirties. This I must believe.
Thank you all for the encouragement.