A Good Cry

Just a few hours after I finished uploading photos for my post yesterday, Mollie arrived home from school.  I suggested we take her bandages off so I could check her incision (her follow up appointment is not until next week).  She was very reticent - I thought she was worried about the pain from the adhesive.  I got out the detachol (brilliant solvent for removing adhesive bandages) and she let me put it on the tegaderm (the outer bandage).  It peeled off easily along with one of the steri-stips (inner bandages) from the smaller incision.  The smaller scar looked great and I walked her into the bathroom to show her in the mirror.  The larger incision was still covered, but Mollie would barely look.  She just hung her head and started sobbing.

I held her until she calmed down and asked her what was wrong.  "Why did this happen to me?  Why did I have to have leukemia, surgery, and all the medicine and hospitals and blood draws?"  It is certainly not the first time she, or any of us, have asked this question.  My reply, as always, was to tell her that I wished it had never happened to her, that we are doing everything possible to make sure it doesn't come back, and to reassure her that it was not her fault.  We talked a little bit about biology, God, and doctors.

She calmed down.  She asked me to cover the incision with a band aid.  That did the trick.

Later, she took a much-needed shower, but we left the steri strips and band aid in place.

I think she needed a good cry.    She feels much better about everything today.  A good cry and a hot shower work wonders.



I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and holiday weekend!  We sure had a lot to be thankful for this year!

As we noted briefly, Mollie's surgery on Nov. 17th was a success!
Arriving at pre-op clinic @ MCG

We arrived at MCG a little after 10 and Mollie had been NPO (no food) since dinner the previous evening.  We met with Dr. Howell (the surgeon) and anaesthesia in the pre-op clinic.  We didn't really know what to expect in terms of recovery time, whether she would be admitted, etc.  As the surgeon explained, removing the port is a lot easier than inserting it, but there are still complications that can arise.  The port itself can adhere to the heart wall, it can fracture, or just be difficult to remove.  The outcomes are generally positive, but could result in a permanent piece of plastic left in the chest or could require the assistance of a pediatric cardiologist in a second surgery.  Dr. Howell didn't seem too concerned, commenting that Mollie wouldn't know the difference; she would just wake up with her ears pierced!  But he also seemed determined to get it out in one piece (and was visibly irritated that it didn't always happen that way).   My favorite part of that whole conversation was when Dr. H whipped out the pen to mark the spot he was going to pierce Mollie's ears!

Ears marked and ready to go.
So, after picking out a toy from the dino-store (just for kids undergoing procedures), Mollie got a dose of Versed and was wheeled into the OR.  We grabbed lunch and waited.  The surgery lasted about 3 hours, including prep and recovery time.  They had to make an additional incision to get the port out, but it came out in one piece and Mollie got to keep it as a souvenir (or medal of honor).  She was agitated when she woke up because she still had an IV in her arm and was hungry!!  We were very touched that so many of the OR staff came by to say hello and wish Mollie luck- I know they are always happy to see children getting their ports out.

The nurse cleaning the betadine off of Mollie's ears after the procedure.
The word from Dr. Howell is that he had to make one additional incision to free the port, but he got it out in one piece.  She does not have sutures because he closed the wounds with steri strips.  Apparently that makes the scar heal more neatly.  The downside is that Mollie hasn't been able to take a real bath for 2 weeks because she had to leave the bandage on.

After the surgery, we stayed in a hotel in Augusta so Mollie wouldn't have to endure the 3-hour drive home the same day.  For pain, she had received and injection of fentanyl in addition to the propofol used for the procedure and requested additional pain meds (morphine) in recovery.  She was pretty wobbly on her feet for a few hours and threw up once (after scarfing down a bag of chips, poor kiddo).   Other than the huge bandage, you would not have known she was just in surgery.  She perked right up when I told her we were going to Stevi B's for pizza with her best pal, Bella!

Bella, Mollie, and Lucy had a great time together eating pizza and playing arcade games.  They did NOT want to leave, but it was a school night for Bella and Mollie needed to get some rest.  A visit with good friends was a lovely way to end the day!

My parents came out the day after the procedure.  It was a good distraction for Mollie!  She went back to school for Thanksgiving week and brought her port for the coolest show and tell ever!

The port.  In close-up, you can see all the holes left from each time it was accessed.  Let me know if you want to see...
Then we headed up to the Blue Ridge mountains for Thanksgiving.  Matt's brother and his wife joined us for the holiday and we all had a wonderful (and cold!) time.

It has now been two weeks since the surgery and Mollie hasn't had any problems.  She only felt a little pain the day following the procedure.  Her ears have healed up quickly and have not caused her any problems.  I guess that's what you get for having a top pediatric surgeon pierce your ears!!

Rocking out in the park a few days post surgery.
Notice the earrings!
 I am so relieved that it all went well.  Words cannot express how thankful I am for everyone who has helped us and Mollie get to this point!