Lots of people have asked us questions about T's surgery so they can know what's going on and how to pray for her. I'm sure many of you have heard about it so many times you can recite it all, but for our friends who don't know the full story, I just figured I'd get a post out there to explain what's been happening and to let you know how it's going and how you can pray.
* Now keep in mind that I'm writing this on a particularly chaotic day, on not much sleep, and it has been way too long since I've had caffeine! AND of course we all know I have no idea how to properly talk about medical stuff, so all you medical people out there can just go ahead and get a good laugh over my unfortunate medical explanations! (A nurse just came in and I seriously told her, "That thing just beeped. A nurse told me she thinks someone needs to flush it." I mean, super helpful, right?!)
OK, here are some FAQs as I think of them.
* WHY IS TAMSIE HAVING SURGERY?
She has something called VUR. I thought about putting a link here, but the thing is that I never google it. I promised myself I never would! ha! :) (I had to institute a no-googling-medical-conditions policy years ago, because I have a history of freaking myself out over nothing! Whenever I violate it, I regret it majorly.) Basically the urine in her bladder refluxes up her ureters back into her kidneys, causing the kidneys to dilate. Over time this can cause tremendous damage, so it's not something to ignore.
* WHY NOT LET HER GROW OUT OF IT?
In the past, we've waited and checked to see if she has grown out of it. (Most who have it do.) (But then her case is way more intense than most.) However, as many times as we've checked, the bad side has never improved at all. The better side has improved slightly. This past time we went, we found out that her reflux is causing secondary problems (like a blockage), so we decided the time had come to take care of it surgically.
* HOW COMMON IS THIS SURGERY?
Super routine. T's urologist does surgeries like this one nearly every week. However, our pediatrician sees a LOT of patients and he said that only about one of his patients a year needs this surgery. And this is T's lucky year! ;)
* WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT SHE HAD THIS PROBLEM AND HOW?
The day before the girls were born, I was having an ultrasound at the U of L Hospital. The doctor was checking out their twin-to-twin situation and trying to decide how much longer I could reasonably keep them inside. As he was examining Tamsie, he realized that one of her kidneys was dilated. So we've known about this since before she was born - and that has been a huge blessing! Consequently, she has been on antibiotics since Day 1 to keep her from having a UTI.
* WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT A UTI AND WHY IS SHE ON ANTIBIOTICS?
It can be a bad thing for a kid so small to have a UTI. Scarring can occur on the kidneys, and no one wants that. The doctor decided that the long-term effects of being on the antibiotic (which, by the way, are minimal because this isn't like penicillin or something - it's in a special class of antibiotics only used for urinary issues) were much less intense than the long-term effects of having multiple UTIs. AND the reflux puts lots of stress on the kidneys.
* HAS SHE EVER HAD A UTI?
Praise the Lord, no! She has never had one. And that is apparently a special thing, because breakthrough infections are common even in kids on antibiotics.
* IS SHE HEALTHY?
Totally! That's why it seems SOOOOOOO weird to send her to surgery! We've always said E gets sick much more easily than T does, in general.
* SO WHAT IF YOU SKIP THE SURGERY?
As bad as her situation is, she will have big problems later on. She's not growing out of it. Like she's much more likely to miscarry one day, etc. Plus she would be very likely to need a transplant at some point if this isn't taken care of.
* HOW DID SURGERY GO TODAY?
Very well! It took about 2 hours, but when it was over, the surgeon's exact words were that it went "beautifully!" She did not run into any surprises, and she was pleased that T's ureters weren't any more swollen than they were. Also, there were two cancellations before her surgery today, so she got to go in much earlier than expected... which means there is a chance we may only have to spend one night in the hospital if all goes well!!
* WERE BOTH URETERS OPERATED ON?
Yes. If you only fix the bad side, that can make the OK side eventually go bad - so you have to fix both at once in this case.
* HOW LONG WILL SHE BE IN THE HOSPITAL?
Originally we were thinking it would be a week... then we heard something like 3 days and 2 nights... and now we're hearing we may be able to go home tomorrow evening! So who knows!
* HOW LONG UNTIL SHE RECOVERS?
It's supposed to be something like 2 weeks. But we really don't know what that will look like.
* ANYTHING TO PRAY FOR NOW?
Her urine output is not what it should be. Please pray that her kidneys start functioning as they should soon! As I type, she is being pumped full of more fluid to make more urine come out. Please pray that this works!! And please pray that this surgery as a whole is successful!!
AND she's super swollen all over - which is to be expected, but if you know anything about the way my pregnancy ended, you know that I am totally freaked out by large amounts of swelling!!
*OK I've gotten so sidetracked that I actually typed that a few hours ago, and the nurse just came in and said that everything is now looking NORMAL!! YAY! BUT she has to keep it up before they'll consider her output to be normal... so keep praying!! :)
Thanks so much! If you have any more questions, please ask away and I will try and answer. I'll try and post more updates and pictures as they come.