Ahh the routine of a "surgical" life. Three months on, four months off. And when the "three months on" is coming up, the rest of the routines jump into action.
My four month break from surgery is ending, and quickly. As such, our regular routine of getting ready to start up again has been in full swing for a few weeks already. My sister and I have long been pulled out of the social circle. No playdates. No public places. No kids of any kind. It is important that we stay away from as many germs as possible to keep me healthy for the surgery, and to avoid complications that can be caused by bacteria (which is all too familar to me). It has been a little boring around the house, but we know this down time will prove worthwhile if we can make this 4th round of expansion the most successful yet.
My pre-op exam was last week and I've been given the a-ok for surgery. We did have one little surprise in learning that one of my ear tubes is going to fall out anytime. It's already dislodged and just kind of stuck in my ear. This should hopefully not cause any problems, but Dr. Bauer (my surgeon, for you newcomers) did want the ear tubes in to help protect my expansions (this is a long story and explained in one of my first surgical posts). So we'll just have to be extra-cautious in watching for signs of an ear infection.
After that, we sent Dr. B some new photos so he can confirm his plans for me this time around. In my last post, I showed you the chronology of my healing adventures after the last surgery. Not much has changed since I've healed, but as I grow, my nevus grows with me so we always have to send new photos. Here are a few of the ones we sent over (don't mind the off-center qualities; it's hard to get good photos of a 2-year-old!)...
We haven't heard back from Dr. B on the plan for my next round of expansion, but after the last surgery we did discuss placing an expander in each thigh this time around and leaving my back alone. Though, potentially, I can see him adding one back expander on the right side as well. Really, until we see him in the hospital in Chicago, even he won't know what the right plan of action is. But this is the bright side of having Dr. Bauer on our team -- even though he's almost 1800 miles away, he's such an expert at tissue expansion and removing Congenital Melanocytic Nevi, that we can put our full faith in him without discussing the plan in advance. If Dr. Bauer can't do it, it can't be done. And if it can be done, Dr. Bauer will do it, and will do it perfectly.
We have 10 days until we board the plane again, and now comes the routine of washing, buying, packing, and planning. There's a lot to do as we get ready for this round. But keeping busy definitely helps to take our minds off of what is coming. Yes, it's hard. It's hard on me, mom, dad, and even sis. But we know this is the right thing for me, in so many ways. And keeping the end in sight is what gets us through. The pain, the inconvenience, the fear, the anxiety - it will all go away. But the results and added protection for my health - I'll have that forever.
Stay tuned to see what's in store for this next round of surgeries, and please keep those prayers coming. Expanders in: July 12. Expanders out: October 4. And we hope not too much excitement in between.