The New Adventure

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If I Only had a Brain...

So it's time for an update of sorts. McKenzie had her doctor's appointment in Birmingham with Dr. Oakes today. We had to wait until she was a few months old so she could handle the anesthesia better since the doctor wanted an MRI of the head.

We spent the night in Birmingham since the MRI was scheduled for 6:30am this morning. Early mornings are fun! So, McKenzie tolerated the lack of feeding much better than Molly would have and had no issues at all with the anesthesia or the MRI itself. We were done and released from the recovery room by 9:30 this morning. Then we went and waited to meet with Dr. Oakes. 

Dr. Oakes showed us the scans. The mass within her ventricle in the brain had gotten quite a bit larger since December. The mass is a fairly large cyst. The doctor is concerned because McKenzie's head circumference is crossing lines on the growth chart. Back in December, she was in the 25th percentile; today, she measured out in the 75th percentile. Not good since the brain is apparently getting bigger at a rate faster than her skull is growing. As a result, things are starting to get squished and pushed around.

So, our options were presented as either we have surgery or we don't. If we don't have surgery and just wait to do something until she's showing some sort of symptoms, we're playing with the danger of permanent brain damage being done. That probably wouldn't be a good thing.

The surgical option is something called a cyst fenestration. It's a endoscopic procedure where the doctor would cut a small hole, drill through the skull, and insert a tiny "telescope". Once inserted, the scope would be pushed down through the brain until they reach the ventricle where the cyst is. They would then punch a hole in the cyst and allow it to drain normally.

It's a fairly simple procedure (simple for brain surgery at least) that would only take 30 - 45 minutes. We'd spend a night in the hospital and then be able to go home the next day as long as there are no complications.

The doctor feels good about this procedure being effective. We are trying to avoid having a shunt installed simply because a shunt is something that will be there forever. The cyst fenestration is effective between 65 and 75% effective to where if we do it, there's a 65 - 75% chance that it will completely solve the problem and we'll never have to do anything else.

That might sound like a bad percentage but I'd rather have a second operation than a shunt replacement every 10 years. The doctor told us that the chances of "serious and permanent" damages as a result of the surgery are about 1 in 35. That's less than 3%.

So, that's the info. It isn't necessarily what we wanted to hear today but it is something we have to deal with. The doctor has told us that this isn't emergent but it is something that we need to handle in the next few weeks to a month. So, it looks like we'll be back in Birmingham before the end of April.

We have to call the doctor tomorrow to schedule the procedure. I'm sure we'll let everyone know what's going on when we know it. Brain surgery isn't something to be taken lightly but we're trying hard to push through it right now.

We'll post more details as we get them. We've got one of the best pediatric neurosurgeon's in the country working with us so we feel confident in our course of action. We ask for your prayers of support as we go through the next month or so...

Til later...

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Monday, March 16, 2009

More doctors and more doctors...

Hello again all. Not a whole lot of updates but we have had some fun the last week so we decided we'd give you a little update. Today was actually a pretty big day with lots of stuff going on. First, the girls got to go to the hospital and be guinea pigs for a couple of students in the Children's Therapy department. First, Molly and McKenzie were evaluated by a PT student from UTC for all of their deficiencies. Then, a student from Ole Miss (maybe?) who is studying to be a speech therapist got to feed both of the girls. Now, it really wasn't fair since she only had to do one at a time. But, I'll cut her some slack since it's the first time she's ever done any real bottle feeding. Plus, it apparently is useful to practice on "normal" babies before you have to deal with the crazy NICU babies or something.

After we finished up at the hospital, today was also the 4 month check-up with our pediatrician, Dr. Jeanie. We had a pool going to see just how much bigger Molly was than McKenzie. Most estimates were in the 2+ pounds heavier range. Their mother was stretching it to 2 and a half right before the appointment. Alright campers, get out your ticket's the tally.

Molly: 13 pounds 8 oz 41cm head circumference 24" in length

McKenzie: 12 pounds 3 oz 41cm head circumference 24" in length

Ta da! Who's our winner? So, there's really only a pound and a bit difference between them. Sure does feel like a WHOLE LOT MORE sometimes.

Molly grades out on the charts at exactly 50th percentile across the boards. McKenzie's weight puts her in the 25th percentile but everything else is in the 50th.

Both girls got 4 different shots plus a flea dip. Neither was very happy with the procedures. Tylenol will make it all go away. McKenzie decided that she really didn't want to sleep tonight. She ate and went down just like normal but stayed in her crib and talked for about an hour. Really loud talking to like someone yelling at the movie screen or something.

She got to spend some quality time on the couch and then our bed. I finally was able to put her in her crib again at 11PM. She's crazy but at least she wasn't crying or anything (for the most part).

Now, a couple of pictures. I know this is why you people visit the blog so here you go.

We decided to give the girls a bath this past week...together...yeah. Note the strategically placed duck.

Hello Molly

Ah, hello McKenzie

I think someone is watching us Molly...

McKenzie, I have something to give you...

Oh yeah Molly? And what might that be?



Ok, I've had enough...thanks for sharing Molly.

And that was our week...

Oh, and as a crazy side note, here's a video of our associate pastor getting in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekend Update

So, it's been another week since our last update. Here is what has been going on.

Amazingly, no doctor appointments this week for either of the girls. That's a good thing cause sitting around the hospital or the doctor's office is not much fun at all. Instead, we got to spend the week hanging out, going to visit with new people, and even on a sleepover with the grandparents.

On Thursday evening, the Chattanooga Moms of Multiples had their bi-annual consignment sale. We went and took the girls hoping to find some good deals on clothes since the girls seem to be growing like weeds these days. We found a couple of outfits but really not much. We did get some new toys and books, including a Fisher Price train for $8 that retails for $42. Lindsey was very happy about that.

This weekend is mine and Lindsey's wedding anniversary. Can't believe that it has already been 6 years but here we are. So, to celebrate, we sent the girls to my parent's house Friday night for a sleepover. We ended up staying for dinner and then put the girls down before coming home. Sleeping in on Saturday morning was awesome though. It's very nice not having to worry about crying or feedings early in the morning.

Lindsey and I spent our time cleaning around the house and doing yard work. Lots of fun. We certainly know how to party. Apparently, the girls had a good time with their grandparents and didn't cause too much trouble. I guess they're invited back to stay again some day.

Sunday morning, the girls got to wear some new outfits and spent some quality time on their tummies. They are both doing really well now with their head control and keeping themselves supported. Here are a few pictures we took of them looking cool...

On Sunday afternoon, we took a family picnic down at the Tennessee Riverpark for our actual anniversary. The girls seemed to enjoy themselves even though it was kind of windy. Molly didn't like it when it blew in her face.

Here's a couple of pics of us with the girls at the park.

On Sunday night, Molly and McKenzie got to take baths. We took a quick video of Molly enjoying her bath.

That's it for now. We still have a few weeks until more doctor's appointments and our trip to Birmingham.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Molly Laughing

Here's a video of Molly laughing while watching me toss a ball in the air. McKenzie is pretty much indifferent to the whole thing though she does smile.

Ignore me dropping the ball and nearly clocking Molly in the head. That's what makes her laugh the most though...

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