Monday, December 9, 2013

One Surgery Date Cancelled, One Coming Up

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. Things have been a bit crazy here. Jack's surgery was originally scheduled for 11/20. It was cancelled because he failed the presurgical testing.
We went to the pediatrician. She did not like the way his lungs sounded. Jack's lungs never sound great because he has bronchopulmonary displasia (BPD). She sent us to the pulmonologist who said he could not have the surgery because he was congested. He really wasn't that congested but no one will take a chance with Jack's lungs because of his history. He is now on inhaled steroids twice a day via nebulizer.
He is rescheduled for the surgery for Wednesday December 11. He has presurgical testing this afternoon. I am hoping the pediatrician clears him and we do not have to go to the pulmonologist.
Here is more information about some of Jack's lung issues.
What is BPD? Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) is a lung disease that occurs most often in babies who were born severely premature—more than 10 weeks before their due date. Babies with BPD have inflammation and scarring in the lungs.
BPD usually is a complication in premature infants being treated for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). RDS is a condition in which the baby's lungs are not developed enough to take in the air they need.
Babies with RDS must have oxygen and often need to be on a breathing machine to prevent brain damage and to save their lives. But the oxygen premature babies need can damage their lungs. When it must be delivered into the babies' lungs by a machine, it may be even more damaging. The infants whose lungs require this treatment are at risk for developing BPD.
Many infants with BPD recover and improve with time, achieving normal or near normal function.
Jack was on the ventilator in the NICU for a prolonged period of time. That caused his lungs to be damaged and scarred from the pressure. At one point the ventilator was not enough for him and he was put on an oscillator. The oscillator sprays oxygen into the baby's lungs and has less pressure. The oscillator saved his life. Luck was on our side because essentially the oscillator is it. At one point in his treatment his numbers were dropping even on the oscillator. They explained to me that they could maybe move him somewhere that has the technology for ECMO, which is essentially a heart lung machine.
ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) is a procedure that uses a machine to take over the work of the lungs and sometimes the heart. ECMO is used for babies, children and adults. It is a special way for a machine to help your child, while he or she is very sick. ECMO provides time for your child's body to rest and recover. You might hear your doctors, ECMO specialists, or nurses refer to this process as ECLS (Extracorporeal LifeSupport) or bypass, which is saying the same thing, just in a different way.
Let's take a moment to better understand each word in ECMO.
Extracorporeal means that the blood circulates outside of the body with the help of a machine. Membrane Oxygenation, referred to as the "artificial lungs," is a special part of the machine that puts oxygen into the blood and takes out carbon dioxide just like our lungs do.
We lucked out and Jack rallied with the oscillator, although it took some time. On Christmas Day last year Jack extubated himself and was able to breathe on his own. It was nothing short of a miracle and no one could believe it. He then went on high flow nasal oxygen and remained on that for a few months. He still had plenty of issues and stopped breathing countless times. He rallied each time.
These are the reasons why thay worry about Jack with the general anesthesia. They are worried that they will not be able to extubate him and he will not start breathing on his own. He had general anesthesia in June when he had his ear tubes placed, but it was a much shorter operation and a different type of anesthesia.
I am hoping that he will pass and be able to have the surgery because not hearing is really slowing his development. However, I am a nervous wreck about him having the general anesthesia.
Julianna will also be seeing the doctor today. She had a very enlarged lymph node and a cluster of accompanying enlarged nodes at the base of the left side of her neck. I took her to the doctor who didn't seem to think it was a big deal. She gave me a prescription for blood work but told me I could wait to see if it changed. She said if she gets a fever it would explain why it was there or if it went away not to worry about it. Well, it got smaller so I was not too worried about it. However, the other night I noticed she has a very enlarged lymph node at the base of her ribcage. It freaked me out and we went immediately for the blood work. Today we are following up with the pediatrician. They had told me last time if the nodes hurt it is usually nothing. They both hurt her when they are touched so I am hoping it is nothing. It is strange because she has no fever and they also cultured her throat, negative. She has no complaints of anything at all. I have spoken to other Moms about this and have heard numerous similar stories where it turned out to be nothing at all. Obviously I am hoping for the same outcome.
Other than all this medical stuff we have been busy. We had two Santa vistis in two days. On Saturday we had breakfast with Santa with Grandma and Pop-Pop and on Sunday we saw Santa agian at my work kid's Christmas party.
So, hoping all goes well later today. If so, Jack will be getting his surgery on Wednesday and I will have a sigh of relief about Julianna.


  1. Oh my gosh, as usual you have a lot on your plate. I hope Jack gets his CI surgery and it goes perfectly. And that Julianna's lymph nodes are "nothing" - probably just a reaction to a winter virus. Hope you get a little time off over the holidays, you all deserve it!

  2. I had a NICU baby 10 years ago. She actually did end up on ECMO for her persistent pulmonary hypertension. She got her cochlear implant just over 5 years ago. It changed her life. Keep fighting for what your baby needs!