Sunday, July 8, 2012

update on Kate

Kate's surgery was a success.

The day of surgery went very smoothly. The staff and doctors at the surgery center were amazing. You could quickly tell they have worked with countless families and children.

We were at the surgery center for about five hours. Kate spent an hour in pre-op, an hour in surgery, and three hours in recovery. We were allowed back into the recovery room prior to Kate waking up. I am so thankful we had an awesome team of nurses that just allowed us to sit next to our sweet girl for three hours. I am thankful they wanted Kate to see Eric and I first before she saw anyone else. When Kate woke up she was calm. She did not scream. She did not get upset. She was thankful to have her mommy and daddy by her side again.

The whole experience at the surgery center was better than I expected and more than I could have asked for. The doctors, nurses, and staff were outstanding.

The three week recovery process was as hard and even a little harder than I expected. I knew Kate would be sad. I knew she would be in pain. I knew she could only eat soft foods. I knew I would need to stay on top of the pain meds. I was not prepared for Kate's strong determination not to eat anything. I was not prepared for the emotional roller coster that I would be riding.

On day three of recovery it sank in that this was going to be a long, difficult, recovery. For three days straight she refused to eat anything other than applesauce that had tylenol with codeine in it. She would only drink water through a syringe. Those were three very long days. I was physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and felt like I was not cut out for the job. By day six I was able to get her to eat a little more but then she started to refuse the pain meds. It would take me an hour or longer to get one dose in her. Those battles were exhausting. Nothing I said or did would ease the process. She was unhappy and very determined to let me know.

On day eight we switched to regular tylenol but it was still a struggle to get her to take it. Her reasoning was it tasted a little different than the medicine I normally give her. No joke. Finally by day ten she was off of all pain meds and was starting to perk up a little. I even caught her smiling a couple of times.

At the end of the second week of recovery I was going stir crazy and ready for us to get back to our routine. We finally got out of the house and Kate attended both her ballet class and swim lessons. Kate did well in both settings and I was happy to have contact with other adults.

We are now in the final stages of Kate's recovery. She has been eating a ton over the last few days. On Friday she ate at least six slices of bread, 12 mini-muffins, half an avocado, a bunch of fruit, and a piece of cake. I think she was making up for the days she only ate applesauce. Ideally tomorrow Kate can return to her normal diet (right now it appears that she still has some scabs on the left side of her throat) and we can move forward. Kate cannot wait to eat dry cereal and crackers. 

Two main things have been affected by the surgery. Her temperament and her speech. Kate has always been a determined child. Now her determination seems even stronger. If she does not want to do something she will refuse to do it. If she wants something she will throw a major fit to try and get her way. Both the refusing and fit throwing are happening several times a day. I am hoping as the recovery continues and she is back to feeling 100% these lessen. Her speech has become severally affected. Right now I can understand her about 50% of the time and Eric claims he can hardly understand her at all. This breaks our hearts. She has adjusted her speech so her tongue does not hit the roof and back of her mouth when she talks. She is also pushing her air the wrong way when producing sounds. All the sounds we have been working in speech therapy for the past six months are gone. She is unable to produce them correctly. Her speech therapist is hoping some of this will correct its self. I am praying that we can quickly correct these new issues and she will recover the sounds she was working on prior to surgery. I have a feeling this road will be long but I am determined that we will conquer it.

I cannot thank you all enough for the thoughts and prayers that have been sent our way over the past three weeks. The texts, messages, email, tweets, hugs, and kind words have meant the world to us. I am so grateful for the support and love we have received. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

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