1) Let's get the bad news out of the way first. The left kidney is still every bit as swollen as it has been. There is no improvement here. On this side, she is still refluxing (is that a word?) at a level 4, which is the worst.
2) Thankfully, the rest is good news. The right kidney is only refluxing at a level 1. This is fantastic news, because last time she had an ultrasound, it was looking much more swollen than ever before. That was what was making our doctor think that surgery was so imminent, so the fact that it has improved to a level 1 is something to celebrate!
3) The results of the renal scan were excellent! Both kidneys are functioning precisely how they should, with no damage whatsoever, despite the largeness of that left kidney.
4) The doctor is still very happy that T has never had any sign of a UTI.
5) I asked about the long-term ramifications of taking an antibiotic all the time, which T has to do in order to prevent a UTI from developing. According to all the research, there are no long-term effects of taking this particular antibiotic, and even if she were to develop a resistance to it, it wouldn't affect her resistance to any other antibiotics.
6) Also, there is no sign of a kidney obstruction -- praise the Lord! Last time we were there, the doctor was suspecting T would possibly have to have multiple surgeries down the road to take care of a kidney obstruction, but this time there was no sign of one at all!
After we went over all of this, the doctor told us we have a choice to make. There's no right or wrong choice, because a good case can be made for either option.
1) Because she has now had 3 VCUG tests since birth, and none of them have shown any improvement at all on that left kidney, we could go ahead and have her undergo surgery to correct the reflux issue. They'd basically reattach both ureters to her bladder, and it would be a 2-3-hour surgery. She'd likely stay in the hospital from a Monday through Wednesday.
The pros for going ahead and doing the surgery now would mainly be getting it over with and doing it while she's this young, before her strong will gets even stronger. After all, statistically speaking, with each VCUG she takes that shows a lack of improvement, the odds get slimmer and slimmer that this will go away on its own without surgical intervention. In her nine years of practicing, the doctor has only seen cases like Tamsie's go away on their own two or three times, so it's very likely that she will have to have this surgery at some point... statistically speaking, anyway.
2) However, because things haven't gotten any worse, because her kidneys are functioning just as they should, because the antibiotics aren't causing problems, and because she is (thankfully) SUCH a healthy child, there is no reason not to wait and give her a chance to grow out of this problem, just in case she does. This is what we have chosen to do. Surgery isn't easy at any age, but since there is no pressing reason to have it done right now, IF she will have to have it at some point, we would rather it happen when she's old enough to understand why it has to be done and that she will be OK. After taking her for her tests this week, Chris says it is just pure torture to put a child through even that kind of pain without her having any idea that it's for her own good. I know that just from taking them to get their shots. So we have chosen to wait. Realistically, in order to avoid surgery in the future, she just has to move from a level 4 to a level 2 in that left kidney -- and who knows, God might choose to heal her without surgical intervention! With that said, the doctor said that if the reflux doesn't clear up on its own, we won't let her go past the age of 5 before having surgery.
We tried to get the doctor to tell us what she would do if she were in our shoes, but she wouldn't. She said it wouldn't be right. Clearly, being a surgeon, she's a different type of parent, because she's not afraid of surgery. But she totally gets where we're coming from, and she is convinced there is no harm in waiting it out a little longer.
So... yay! We're off the hook for now! :) T will go back in 6 months for an ultrasound just to check on everything, and then she'll have another VCUG in a year. But we'll gladly take that over surgery for now!
|Cuddles with Evie and Daddy before heading off for tests on Wednesday morning|
|All dressed up for her day downtown with her Daddy, hanging onto every imaginable lovey|
|Last night we took the girls to the fair, where they rode their very first ride ever! They especially loved sitting by Pierce, who was super sweet to them! :)|
|Waiting in the lobby at the doctor's office this morning. Evie provided outstanding moral support.|
I caught T laughing at herself and giving herself kisses in her mirror yesterday:
Thanks again for keeping us in your prayers! God is good!
Y'all have a wonderful weekend! :)