Friday, January 2, 2009

Second Surgery is a go....

I've been getting emails asking about how Jake's doing since his surgery, so here's the scoop:

His recovery has been going fairly well, he's had to deal with a lot of pain in his AVM, so he's on a somewhat regular regimen of ibuprofen. The bleeding, for a while, had been down to nothing - up until the Saturday after Christmas. Michael and the boys were goofing off, and Jake happened to move his head at just the wrong time, and Michael & Jake knocked each other pretty hard. That caused Jake's AVM to bleed pretty badly. Michael was able to get it stopped fairly quickly, and Jake was really careful the rest of the night.

We came home from Kansas City on Tuesday evening, just in time for Jake to have a major bleeding episode. The boys were playing with their new Nerf guns (gotta love Christmas presents!), and was putting on his vest for dart tag. The strap of the vest bumped his AVM again, and he instantly had blood running down his chest and his back. Jake came downstairs and let us know he was bleeding, so I went up to the kitchen with him and we did what we could to get it stopped. Normally, when he bleeds, he's able to get it stopped in a matter of a few seconds. This episode was much worse than normal. He held a dish towel on his head for almost a full minute, and soaked up close to half of the towel with blood. To be honest, it was the most scared I've been since we found out about Jake's AVM. It was a lot of blood, and it was coming fast, and not stopping. After we finally got it stopped, Michael suggested that I call the doctor first thing in the morning.

Wednesday morning, I called the doctor and talked to his nurse. She took all the information, and let me know that she'd talk to the doctor as soon as he was out of surgery. We went on about our day - going to a few stores for the boys to spend some of their Christmas money, and got a phone call around 3:00 saying that the doctor would like to see Jake, "just in case". One thing that I've been very thankful for is the fact that whenever we've had a concern, the doctor has taken it very seriously, and has not made us feel like "dumb parents". We scheduled an appointment for today at 10:30am.

We got down to Iowa City just in time this morning for his appointment. We waited for a bit in the waiting room before being called back into the exam room. We were informed that Jake's doctor had been called into an emergency surgery, but knew that Jake was coming in, and he really wanted to see Jake himself. He had his nurse take a bunch of information, and had his assistant take a quick look at Jake and report to him while he was in surgery. The process took close to an hour, and I was thankful that we had taken our video iPod and Jake's PSP with us to keep the boys occupied. After a while, the nurse came back and told us that the surgery was taking longer than he thought, and she had a pager for us so we could walk around the hospital while he finished up.

By this time, it was close to 1:00, and the boys and I were getting pretty hungry. We decided to head down to the cafeteria and grab a quick snack. We got there, picked up a couple bags of chips and a soda to share, and sat down to chat. We barely got our chips finished, and our pager went off letting us know that the doctor was out of surgery.

We made our way back up to the Neurology Clinic, and were taken back to another exam room. The doctor came in and shook Jake's hand (which made Jake feel pretty grown up), and had a look at Jake's AVM. He was very pleased with the progress the AVM has made. He said that it's much "quieter" - which meant there was a lot less blood flow! (PRAISE GOD!!!) and he said the the AVM has shrunk some too (PRAISE GOD SOME MORE!!!). Jake has a rather large sore on the AVM that has scabbed up, and the doctor said that more than likely, the bleeding was aggravated by the dry scab cracking. He said to put aloe on the sore a few times a day, and hopefully that will help to soften the area. He also gave us some gauze to use, in case it would bleed again. He said (which I didn't know) that the gauze is better to use to stop the bleeding, because the fibers in the gauze actually aid in the clotting of the blood. (I thought that was pretty interesting).

The doctor wanted to go ahead and schedule Jake's next surgery - not feeling it was an emergency, but also wanting to get it done fairly quickly. He had mentioned wanting to schedule it for February or March, with Jake's school schedule in mind. I told the doctor that Jake starts baseball on March 1st. The doctor smiled and said, "then we'll do February!"

So....Jake's next (and final) surgery is scheduled for February 12th at 7:30 am. He'll, again, spend the night at the hospital for recovery, but he doesn't have school on the 13th, so he won't be missing much (he was hoping to miss more!)

He's almost done - I can't wait for him to be able to not worry about whether he's going to bleed during an activity or not. It'll be nice to let him get back to being a kid! I'm so thankful for God's protection during this time - it's scary to think about all the things that could have gone wrong before we knew what a risk the AVM is.....but it also makes me thankful that God didn't show us what was going on until now. I can't imagine how I would have sheltered him if I knew wouldn't have been a fun childhood! ;)

Please keep praying for God's protection and peace during this. It's a lot for a kid to take on - but Jake, being the amazing kid that he is, is taking it all in stride. Once again - I'm being taught by my son!


GrGrandpa said...


Thanks for your informative report about Jake's progress and episodes. We too are proud of him. And we will continue our prayers, counting on God's protection and healing for him.


GrGrandma and Grandpa

Elan said...

Thanks for the update. We continue to pray for Jake.