Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Surgery Scheduled!

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 [Elisabeth, prepped for an Upper GI yesterday.]
So, have you ever noticed that Elisabeth always wears bibs? That is partly due to drool - but mostly it is because she vomits all day long. And by all day long I mean all day long. My daily life revolves around changing her bibs, clothing, and bedding. It's not so bad at home, but it is really difficult to deal with out in public. For example, a few days ago I needed to run into the gymnastics office and pay Lorelai's tuition. I decided that it was too much trouble to get Elisabeth's wheelchair out, so I opted to carry her. As I stood there at the counter I held her with my left arm and was busy paying with my right. That's when it happened. Vomit. Green vomit (all that spinach) all over her and me - and dripping down onto the floor. The lady behind me seemed a bit uncomfortable, I think part of her wanted to help, but she didn't know how - and probably wasn't sure about green vomit. I asked the woman behind the counter for some paper towels and I wiped us up the best I could (have you ever tried cleaning up vomit while standing up holding a seven year old?) Basically, I'm trying to draw you a picture of my everyday life for the past 7 years. It's been....messy.

Back in 2010, when her g-tube was placed, she had a fundoplication done. This is a procedure where they use the stomach to create a wrap around the esophagus. This wrap is supposed to prevent anything from going up - even burps. Unfortunately, Elisabeth's never worked. It is suspected it was torn apart immediately due to a seizure. A year later I asked about redoing it, but the surgeon felt it pointless due to her uncontrolled epilepsy. Her seizures now, however, are quite reduced from what they were then. I estimate that she has on average five a day - way better than hourly! So they have agreed to redo the fundoplication!

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[Illustration of a fundoplication.]

In addition to the fundo, they will do a second procedure called a pyloroplasty. This is a surgery where the lower part of the stomach is cut to widen the opening into the intestines. Elisabeth had a gastric emptying study done last week that showed it takes her stomach twice as long to empty as it should. So even if the wrap around the esophagus comes undone again due to a seizure, the vomiting might not be as bad because her food won't be sitting in her stomach as long.

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Surgery has been set for November 12th in Spokane and they expect her to stay around five days. I hate that she has to go through another surgery, but I know how much better this will make life for her and me. Seven years of vomiting is way too much!

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[Elisabeth, during the Upper GI. See her stomach on the monitor back there?]
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