Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Surgery Update with Pictures

No, the pictures are not of a surgery.  You can breathe a sigh of relief!  :)  But a blog post just isn't so much fun without pictures.  Now, do I write the surgery update first or put the pictures first? Hmmm...

I met with Dr. Paul Mitchell today.  He was very nice and has a good sense of humor.  He seemed impressed to know I am married to Mitchell Paul. :)  He was thorough and patient with me and asked many questions.  He listened closely to my health history and my family history of spherocytosis.  He again described what spherocytosis is, and explained that the splenectomy does not change the presence of spherocytes in my blood, it only allows them to survive.  Before coming in today, he sent me to have a CT scan done.  He looked at my lab work with me and answered some questions I had.  The most notable thing to see there was my hemoglobin, which had been 8.4 on Dec. 21, was 8.6 on Dec. 23 and still only 8.6 on Dec. 31st.  We looked at the CT scan together and he described the surgical procedure in detail.  The detail from the scans was AMAZING!  He said right away without me even asking that he would like to take my gallbladder out--yay!  He said that would be done first.  As we looked at the scan, it was easy to see the size of my spleen.  When I said we could feel it, we are really only feeling the TIP of it--it's crammed in there good and is close to the same size as my liver (whoa bragging rights!!).  My stomach is really squished and I joked that it keeps me away from the buffets.  A blood vessel attached to my spleen is very large, almost the same size as my aorta.  So my spleen is most likely not just collecting red blood cells, but also white blood cells and platelets as well, contributing to my low blood counts and poor health.  I will feel better with this baby gone, he predicts.  Normally a splenectomy can be done laparascopically.   He confirmed that it may be too big, but they will not know for sure until they are in there.  He said I will stay in the hospital at least for 2 nights, but more if they have to make an incision.  He also described in detail the risks involved.  The main risk is bleeding and subsequently needing a transfusion.  There is an increased risk of infection in life without a spleen, so I must have the pneumococcal vaccine before the surgery (I will get it tomorrow).  I mean it when I said he was thorough--anything that I had read previously or heard from other people that was worth knowing, he said.  It was incredibly reassuring!  We set the surgery date for January 25th.

At this point we are still working on decisions and arrangements for daycare and for Tirzah.  It is difficult.  There are some knowns and some unkowns and we will try to plan for both! 

{She is quite vicious, I tell you!}

{Malachi and Josh got some much-needed haircuts}
{This boy is all kinds of trouble}


  1. Katie Phifer1/06/2010 10:39 PM

    Josh had a splenectomy about 13 years ago and is doing great. You would never know he was missing his spleen! His docs told him to be sure to get the flu vaccine every year. He did the first two I think, and got the flu both years. he hasn't gotten one since and hasn't had the flu since increased rate of infection for him, so hopefully you will have the same great results! I'll bet it feels good to have a plan.
    Also, I am not sure, but I think Angie used to babysit for Dr. Mitchell's should ask her sometime.

  2. I'm SO GLAD to hear that he was much more thorough and informative that the other guy!! I'm sure that was such a relief for you.

    So, will you have to stop nursing?? I suppose you've got lots of time to fill your freezer with milk, but Tirzah will certainly be missing her mama while you're in the hospital.

    Praying, praying for you, my dear friend as you sort through all this and make the necessary arrangements.

  3. What a relief to finally get some clear answers! Praying that you will figure out the details.