Saturday, February 4, 2012

Home with our Mei Li

Mei Li. . . 5 days after surgery on her spinal cord

We have been home from the hospital for 2 days, and we are 5 days out from Mei Li's surgery on her spinal cord. We went into this week having no idea what to expect. All of the "what ifs" with the risks of surgery. . . and even if all went well with the surgery, what to expect "pain-wise" in the days following. I can tell you that in true "Mei Li style", she has handled the last 5 days with smiles, little to no complaint, silliness, sauciness, and a sense of humor. I have to ask her if she is hurting, and then I give her Ibuprofen and Tylenol. She had an allergic reaction to the plastic and adhesive placed on her back during the surgery, and we have had to treat the rash on her back. But, it is truly amazing the grace and positive spirit this little girl has maintained throughout the entire experience. She is an inspiration to us all. . . and she continues to challenge me every day to look at the world and my own circumstances with a more thankful and joyful heart. Amazing what we can learn from a little child!

I can't say enough about the phenomenal surgical team that took care of Mei Li. Dr. Blount is nothing short of amazing! Such a wonderful man in addition to a brilliant surgeon. And, his nurse, the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist. . . the Lord prepared the perfect team to love and care for our little girl! And, His presence was so obvious in that hospital through each and every person sent our way. Even beyond the nurses and doctors. . . the friends and even complete strangers who made their way to our room to touch the lives of our family and both of our girls. . . they shone such a light! It was a humbling and overwhelming experience. We were completely in a position of having "no" control. . . being dependent on the excellence and precision of the surgeon and nurses, being dependent on the love and support of friends and family, and wholly dependent on the mercy and grace of our Heavenly Father. And, to experience the floodgates open and pour out blessing on us in every one of these areas. . . it is indescribable!
Right now, our days are spent at the house keeping Mei Li confined to the couch or the bed on her back or side. She does have permission to walk to the restroom, but then straight back to lying down. We have 5 more days of lying flat. Then, we will see what Dr. Blount tells us. Mei Li is such an active and spirited little girl; but, amazingly, she is doing exactly what Dr. Blount has asked of her. It seems she understands that we are trying to help her. And, she is responding with a willingness that surprises us all. And, she is doing it with such an incredibly positive attitude.
We are truly blessed, and we are incredibly thankful!!! Thank you to every person who has followed along and offered up prayers and good wishes for our little girl!! You have made such a difference to our family and to the life of one little girl. . . named Mei Li. :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Prayers are answered

Mei Li's spinal surgery was Monday. I asked all of you to pray for her, and those prayers have been answered in a mighty way. She had a laminectomy where the surgeon removed a small portion of her vertebrae in order to get to the lipoma that was attached to her spinal cord. It was a long surgery. They took her back to begin prepping her around 7:15 a.m. Then, the actual surgery began at 8:40. They updated us every 90 minutes, and that was welcome relief. Dr. Blount finally came out to speak with us at 2:00 in the afternoon. His assistant was still sewing Mei Li up, but he had finished the major internal work. Once they removed the portion of bone, he was able to begin removing and detaching the fatty tumor. That was a long and tedious process. He worked under a microscope and removed it millimeter by millimeter. He removed a good portion of the tumor, but the closer he got to healthy tissue, the risks rose substantially. So, he left some of it. Although, he detached all of it. And, the fatty tumor poses no risk in and of itself. It is the fibers that bind the tumor that are dangerous b/c they can tether to the spinal cord (which hers did). And, the tumor can actually "help" keep spinal fluid from leaking. Dr. Blount told us that there was already a good amount of scarring of the spinal cord from the tether, so it is great that we went ahead and opted to do this surgery. She would have experienced neurological problems down the road causing paralysis and bowel issues.

Since then, we have been watching to see that no spinal fluid has leaked. None has!!! We have watched to see if she can move her arms and legs and flex the good foot. She is moving everything!! Of course, the foot that had the surgery on it does not have feeling or movement, but none was expected in that foot. We have also been watching to see if she could go potty, and she has wet diapers consistently. So, no problems with being able to go tinkle. All of these are HUGE answers to prayer. No apparent neurological problems resulting from the surgery.

Mei Li did experience some intense headaches yesterday and some nausea along with them. It is the result of new spinal fluid being created and released in her brain from what was lost during surgery. That spinal fluid being released causes pressure differences in the brain and intense headaches. He told me that the morphine is important to use for these headaches for the first 48 hours. Ibuprofen and Tylenol is not strong enough to handle that pain. Once we went back on morphine at regular intervals, the intense headaches with nausea went away. And, the good news, it is 9:36 in the morning as I type this, and Mei Li has not needed morphine or complained of a headache since 1:00 a.m.!!!

We are thrilled with Mei Li's daily progress. Your prayers have been heard and answered, and I thank you all and the good Lord above for taking care of our precious girl!

We had a humorous moment this morning when Mei Li smelled Mama's coffee. This little girlie loves her coffee. I caught it on video. . . enjoy!!!! It is proof positive that our Mei Li is getting better by the minute! :)

Thank you SO much for your prayers and your good wishes. . . and for following along. We hope to go home, possibly, tomorrow. I'll keep you posted!