21 Months…and an update

She turned 21 months yesterday! She is outgrowing all of her pajamas and now when we put her on the changing table her legs are so long she kicks everything off of it.


We met with the surgeon today.  We really liked him. I half expected that the picture on his bio page would be twenty years old like most doctors, but no, he really is in his thirties.

He stressed again how quickly little children recover from this surgery and how standard of a surgery it is. The biggest risk associated with the surgery only has a 3% chance of happening, whereas the chance of something even worse happening without the surgery is almost certain. They have learned from decades of experience that the best thing to do is fix it early in life.

He is going to do a transverse cut, meaning it will be a horizontal line, and it should be low enough that she will be able to wear a low cut blouse (As if we will ever allow that) without a visible scar. Unfortunately with that kind of cut, he does have to make a bigger incision than if he went in vertically, so her scar will be bigger. But it will be less noticeable in the every day world.

He is going to fix the second, smaller hole as well (her ASD) while he is in there. That was a welcome surprise to me. Glad he’s going to get it all done at once.

She will be on the heart-lung bypass machine for an hour and a half. They are going to repair the VSD by patching it with a piece of synthetic material called Dacron. He will use part of the lining of the outside of her heart to stitch up the ASD.

The biggest risk associated with this surgery has to do with the steadiness of the surgeon’s hands. Because the defect is located very close to the conductive tissue, there is a chance that the conductive impulse area may be injured during the stitching process and not be able to carry out normally. If this happens, a pacemaker is put in. Usually it will heal within a few days and the pacemaker can come out. In the most extreme cases, a permanent pacemaker will be put in. But this risk is only about 3%.

While we were in the heart department we saw several parents with babies in infant carriers and it reaffirmed to me how fortunate we have been in Veronica’s situation. We have been able to wait until just the right time to perform this surgery and we have a great medical staff attending to her. We’re lucky to live so close to such a great medical complex. I’ll give another update after our 2nd meeting at the end of next week.


4 Responses to “21 Months…and an update”

  1. 1 mom October 17, 2009 at 10:01 am

    It really puts our hearts at ease knowing that they are doing such a thorough job of explaining everything (knowledge helps with fear) She is growing so fast and she looks very tall to me. We will need to look for some more pj’s for her too.

  2. 2 Tom October 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you for such a thorough report. Knowing more will help us to worry less (I hope). I’m particularly glad to hear that the surgeon will fix both problems at the same time. That is great news and means she won’t have trouble with it down the road. Your explanation makes it easy to share your confidence.

  3. 3 stacy October 18, 2009 at 9:40 am

    so if your goal is to have a surgeon with a steady hand, I think we should all breathe a sigh of relief that you have a surgeon on the young side. Alex had to go to urgent care last week for a jellyfish sting and I can tell you that I would not want to think that a crotchety and curmudgeony (sp?) old doctor like he had would be treating VJ.

    Thank you for all of the details. You are doing a great job at keeping your friends and family calm. 🙂

  4. 4 Mishy October 20, 2009 at 9:45 am

    you are becoming extremely knowledgeable! VJ is a lucky girl.

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