WOW! I still can’t believe we raised over $5,000 for Bello Machre. Thanks to all of you who donated and supported us for the walk.
Catherine will use the money to help with surgery expenses that are upcoming. She’s getting ready to have a pretty major surgery and I’ve had a hard time dealing with it, frankly. For a long time, I didn’t even talk about it. Then, I talked too much about it and was too cavalier. Now, I am trying to deal with the logistics on top of the extraordinary stress of thinking about just what a big deal this surgery actually is.
Don’t get me wrong. She’ll be in great hands with Dr. Freeman Miller at AI DuPont Hospital for Children. He’s among the best, if not the best, in the world. In fact, we asked a knowing doc at Hopkins if we should consider someone there for another opinion or as an alternate provider and he shook his head immediately and said, “No. Go there. You’ll be in great hands – he’s the best.” I’ll let that doc remain anonymous because if you know anything about Hopkins, you know they never refer out of their system. Even US News and World Report cites the accolades of the orthopedic group at AI duPont and ranks them #5 in the country. That’s all comforting.
But this is a big surgery. Catherine’s spine is curved 78 degrees so Dr. Miller will straighten it and will use a rod to hold it straight.
It really hit me when our therapist said, “Well, let’s do a lot of ball work because she won’t be able to do much after surgery.”
“You mean while she heals?” I asked.
“Well, no. She’ll not be able to bend over the ball after the surgery. Her spine will be stiff.”
Ugh! So, my snuggly little girl won’t be so snuggly anymore. The one who has cuddled up to my skin and Brian’s chest since she was 3 days old will sit erect. I’m sure we’ll find a way – some odd way – to hold her so we can snuggle together. It just won’t be the same. Actually, after every big event for Catherine – it’s never the same.
Her spine is not just curved side-to-side. It’s also curved front to back. In fact, we found out just how severe it was when we thought we felt poop blocked in her intestines. Unfortunately, she got the wrong end of all the treatments to try to fix that before we had an x-ray in the ER and they finally said, “What you feel through her belly is her spine.” Yowzie. I literally didn’t believe it. When we went to see Dr. Miller, he immediately confirmed it.
Hopefully though, we’ll get the results a friend’s son got. Hopefully Catherine will breathe better and get less seizures and not be in the pain she seems to be in now. And hopefully her organs will spread out and grow correctly and enable her to thrive. I even think that if a rod is holding her spine straight then maybe she’ll be able to hold her head upright, too. I figure it’s possible and a girl’s gotta dream – especially in the face of this particular surgery. So, despite the laundry list of things this surgery will bring – all in some weird rule of “fives” – through some grace of God I find a tiny ray of hope. I’ll confess though. It’s really tiny.
She’ll be on the table for 5 hours. She’s expected to need 5 pints of blood. We’ve been told to plan on 5 days in the ICU (what surgery requires FIVE days in the ICU anymore?) and then another 5 days in the regular hospital. Our surgeon told us it’s the equivalent of an adult going through open heart quadruple bypass surgery. Yeah, it’s sort of a big deal. I’ll be hanging onto that sliver of hope picturing my little girl sitting straight and maybe even holding up her head.
And like everything in Catherine’s world since the day she was born, oh so small. We’ll sit in the waiting room in a few weeks, and we’ll just have to wait and see.