Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's appointment...

Jake had his consultation today at the University of Iowa Hospital to see about having his birthmark removed. It was a full day - we're a little farther than we were, but still don't have any information yet.

The surgeon that we met with today was very nice, and was great about talking directly to Jake. He explained that having Jake's birthmark removed was not a trivial surgery, and he wanted to get more information about the birthmark before preceding. He examined Jake's birthmark, and found that it has a pulse, which indicates that there is a blood vessel going through the birthmark. He ordered an MRI and and MRA to get a good look at the birthmark from all angles. He wanted to see how that blood vessel sat inside, and make sure that Jake's skull is developed underneath - he said he doesn't want to get in there, remove the birthmark and see the back of Jake's brain underneath it! (that would be bad!)

Thankfully, we were able to get Jake in today for his MRA and MRI (MRA shows his blood vessels, and MRI shows his head in general). The doctor is hoping to go over the results next week, and contact us and let us know what the next steps are that we can take. He mentioned something about having a procedure done before we think about having the major surgery. I can't remember exactly what it was called (gonna have to write down those technical terms next time!), but it's done by the radiology department. He'd have a catheter "floated" up through his blood vessels to the birthmark, and they'd "zap" it with something that would constrict and close up the blood vessel that is running through the birthmark. Once that's done, surgery on his birthmark would be less of a risk. He said that if they try surgery before doing this, Jake would just bleed and bleed, and being a child, he'd run the risk of loosing too much blood, and need transfusions. The doctor thinks, as of today, that this is the route he'll take - but he'll know more after seeing the images from the MRI and MRA today.

On an emotional level, it was up and down today for me personally. It was a bit scary at times, thinking about all the possibilities, and hearing Jake's account of how he feels about having his birthmark. I found out today just how much he hates having it, and that he was picked on quite a bit in 3rd grade over it. He was about in tears today as he told me what happened (which, of course got me on the verge of tears as well). He was quite brave through the whole day, and was very mature. He talked to the doctor without hesitation (the doctor was also very engaging with Jake, which made Jake feel very comfortable). When we went down to get his MRI and MRA, he found out that he was going to have to have an IV put in for the chemical to show his vessels during the MRA. Through the whole needle prick - he didn't flinch. He sat in the MRI machine for a whole 45 minutes while all the images were being taken - and coped quite well with the noise and discomfort. When he finished the MRI & MRA, his birthmark started bleeding quite badly. He was as cool as a cucumber in dealing with it. The technicians administering his imaging were wide eyed and almost panicky. Jake talked with an even tone, and told them how to deal with his birthmark bleeding. It was quite amazing to see him today.

On the way home, I told Jake just how proud I was of him and how he was handling this whole situation. He told me that he will do whatever it takes to get rid of the birthmark - even if it means some discomfort in the process. He's going to rise to the occasion, and "be a man" about it.


Please keep praying for this situation. I'm seeing more and more how important this is to Jake, and I want the best for him. This is a major surgery, I'm finding out. I want everything to be smooth and safe. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and Michael and I as we make decisions and go through processes. Please pray for Jake's emotions and safety through all of this. Of course we want him to endure as little pain as possible - so please pray that whatever course is decided upon, that it is the least invasive.

Thanks for all your prayers so far, and thanks for continuing them.


Elan said...

Thanks for the update. We are definitely lifting you all up in prayer.