Friday, February 20, 2009

Surgery #3 is a go!

Jake's been doing really well lately, his wound on his AVM is almost completely healed! We've been making bi-weekly trips down to Iowa City to meet with Jake's plastic surgeon, measuring how much his AVM shrinks. The doctor's plan of action was to wait and see how much it would shrink on it's own before removing the mass surgically. The first 2 weeks it shrunk a half centimeter....and then stopped.

We had some questions last week about some of the drainage on the AVM, so yesterday, the doctor who performed Jake's 2 surgeries called and asked to see him. They wanted to be sure his AVM wasn't infected from the embolizations. We (Michael, Jake, and myself) went down there yesterday afternoon, and got a good report from his surgeon - no infection, and the surgery was successful. The doctor even said that they "amazed themselves" since it's healing better than they could have imagined it. What a great meeting!

Michael called the plastic surgeon before heading down to Iowa City, to see if we could meet with him at the same time. The surgeon was teaching a class yesterday, but he wanted to see Jake, so they asked us to stop by his office around the time that his class was done. We finished with the first visit early, and headed over to the plastic surgeon's office and waited in the waiting room for about a half hour. When Dr. Hamilton came in, he was happy to see Jake. He measured Jake's AVM, and found that it hadn't shrunk any farther. It was time to schedule the surgery to have the mass of the AVM removed!

Jake was VERY happy to hear this news! The thought of not dealing with his birthmark anymore was quite appealing to him. :) He joked (rather seriously) with Dr. Hamilton that he'd like the AVM in a jar after the procedure, so he can show it off to his friends. Jake was also very determined to have the surgery scheduled for March 2nd. On that day, he had a vocal concert at school scheduled that he did NOT want to be a part of - he hates the songs, and hates the actions going along with the songs even more!

In our conversation with the doctor and his secretary, we did express that we'd like to have the surgery take place as soon as possible, for several reasons. One being the annoyance of the birthmark. For Jake's whole life, he's had to field questions, wear hats bigger than he'd like, not be able to lay on his back in bed, and not sit back on chairs. He's ready to have a "normal" shaped head. The other reason we'd like to expedite the surgery was because of baseball. Jake starts his practices on March 1st. We'd like to have him healed up before his games start in May.

The secretary and Dr. Hamilton took all of our requests to mind, and told us that they'd let us know today when we can get him into surgery. The soonest available, from what the secretary could tell, would be April 27th, but she was going to try and work some things around.

I got an email this morning around 9:00 informing us that Jake's surgery is scheduled for MARCH 2ND!!!! He got the date he was hoping for! No music concert for him! :) We're really happy about it - like we were going for, the sooner the better! It will give him some time to heal before his games.

Jake goes down to Iowa City on Wednesday, for an ultrasound of the AVM. The doctor who performed his previous surgeries wants to take one last look at it, and make sure that the blood-flow is still blocked. He and Dr. Hamilton (the plastic surgeon) have been in communication about Jake, and are "Tag-teaming" his procedures. If there are any areas of concern, the doctor will take care of them before the 2nd, so that the removal of the AVM will go smoother. He goes down again on Friday (the 27th) for his pre-operative appointment with Dr. Hamilton. During that appointment, we'll find out what time the surgery is, and what needs to be done to prepare for it.

I was telling my boss today that I have a mixture of emotions through this process. It's hard to see my child have to have surgery - it's never a fun experience. At the same time, however, I'm overjoyed that he's having the surgery done. Having the birthmark removed from his head is a MAJOR victory! Life is going to be so much easier for him after this.

It's been really cool to see Jake interact with the doctors through all this too. He's really made an impression on all of the doctors and nurses that he's dealt with. They all know him by sight, and don't even have to look at their charts to know where he's at in recovery. They all laugh at all his jokes (and rightly so!), and are wonderful at talking "to" him, not "at" him. They've all done an amazing job making sure that he's happy about the process too, they've really gone out of their way, and made him feel at ease about everything. We couldn't have asked for anything better! (Of course, it's easy for them to be amazing when they're dealing with such an amazing kid!) :)


Dana said...

God is so good! I'm so happy for you and especially for Jake! That is just wonderful news!!!

Florence and Gary Deeter said...


What good news. We'll be praying for you.

Love you,

GrGrandma and Grandpa D