Friday, April 16, 2010

Update on Chrissie's Upcoming Surgery

Chrissie is scheduled for extensive open-heart surgery this Monday, April 19, Lord willing.  This past Wednesday afternoon, Chrissie developed diarrhea and that same night, she started running fever.  Why is it that this sweet girl is healthy and well every other day of the year...just prior to surgery is when she decides to get sick?!?  Oh my.  It ends up that Chrissie has Giardia (got it from her brother Kiefer, who brought it with him from Haiti!), but she's on a good antibiotic for it.  She hasn't had any fever since Wednesday night, and since Giardia is a parasite (and not a virus), Chrissie's immune system should be strong enough for surgery this Monday.  She had her pre-op visit with the cardiac surgeon this afternoon, and I took her over to the hospital afterward to do her pre-op admission blood work, labs and chest x-ray.  So, as long as Chrissie stays well (no fever and no other signs of illness, particularly respiratory illness), she will be undergoing massive repair of her heart and pulmonary system this Monday at 5:30AM.

Dr. Kupferschmid will be doing her cardiac surgery, along with a team of medical staff, including Dr. Porisch, our amazing cardiologist.  Dr. Porisch has been in Mongolia doing heart catheterizations with a medical mission team.  She's been praying for The Great Physician to lay His healing hand upon our daughter's heart.  Nothing touches me more than knowing that the very person who will be in the operating room assisting the repair of Chrissie's heart is a strong Christian who relies upon The Great Physician and has been seeking His hand in this entire process.  I am so grateful that God sent Dr. Porisch into our lives to take care of Chrissie.  I think I shared this before, but Dr. Porisch plays Christian music in the operating room.  I have no doubt that God will be present in the OR with our precious daughter this Monday, April 19, guiding the hands of those who He has called to repair Chrissie's numerous and severe congenital heart defects.

Dr. Kupferschmid reiterated today that this surgery is quite extensive.  It's a massive undertaking, and he's not sure if he'll be able to repair all of Chrissie's heart on Monday, but he's going to try.  He mentioned that she'll have to have another heart catheterization several weeks after her open-heart surgery in order for Dr. Porisch to insert a few more stents in some vessels that have severe stenosis (narrowing)  deep in the lungs, which are vital to life and unable to be reached during open-heart surgery.  For those who are new to Chrissie's case, she has multiple severe congenital heart defects and she really shouldn't be alive today.  She is an absolute miracle.  Chrissie has pulmonary artery atresia (no pulmonary artery), and the main pumping chamber of Chrissie's heart doesn't pump or operate right now, and there's no blood flow from her heart to her lungs. (She has some unique God-made vessels that are working independently of the heart to supply minimal blood flow to the lungs to be oxygenated.)  She also has a large hole between the lower two chambers of her heart.  Chrissie also has major stenosis (narrowing) of arteries and vessels throughout her pulmonary system which greatly reduces blood flow.  (Some of the areas look like a kinked garden hose...seriously.)  Everyone is stunned that blood is flowing through some of these areas.  The stent that was placed in a vessel in her left lung back in November has since ruptured, and upon further examination in the CT Angiogram of her heart, Dr. Porisch determined that there's not blood flowing through there anymore, so there must be a "backdoor" source.  Chrissie is truly a miracle.  Truly.  During Chrissie's open-heart surgery this Monday, they will "install" a homograft (cadaver) pulmonary artery (since Chrissie doesn't have one), and they'll partially close a huge hole between her lower two chambers.  (They're putting on a patch over the hole that will pop off if one of the chambers fills with too much blood and doesn't pump it out of the pulmonary artery properly.  In that event, the patch would pop off and exit the way the blood entered so that her heart doesn't explode.)    The cardiac surgeon will do his best to take the God-made vessels that only Chrissie has (no one else has these) and tie them into the pulmonary artery, with hopes of creating a heart that beats, pumps and operates as closely to a healthy heart as possible.  The cardiac surgeon has mentioned several times that this operation is not a normal operation; it is quite extensive and a massive undertaking, yet he feels quite confident that he'll be able to accomplish a lot during the surgery.  He thinks he'll be able to fix up the right lung area, but not sure about the left lung (that's the one with the fractured stent and backdoor blood flow source).  He believes the surgery will take him around 7 hours or so, and he said he suspects it will take as much or more time to get Chrissie to stop bleeding after he finished his repairs.  They can't sew her up until they stop the bleeding, so that's an area to add to your prayer list for Chrissie.

My friend Julie has organized a prayer chain with continuous coverage 24/7 for the first 3 days of Chrissie's procedure, which are the most critical days.  (April 19, 20, 21.)  We would all greatly appreciate any prayers that you're willing to lift up for our sweet girl.  This is not going to be fun, but it will all be worth it.  Chrissie continues to tell us (and most everyone she talks to) that she wants to get her heart fixed so she can run and jump and play and swim and not be tired.  Right now, Chrissie cannot even walk up our stairs without resting her heart.  She begins to wheeze and turn blue if she tries to do anything physical.  (She even wants to sweep the floors like her sisters and mommy, but it's too hard on her heart.)  It's such a sad thing to see all that she wants to do right now, but can't because of her heart.  But we rejoice that she's alive since she really shouldn't have ever lived as long as she has.  She is our miracle girl who we absolutely adore, and we are begging God to grant her a long and healthy life where she can run and play and swim like other children get to do.  Please join us in praying for Christyn Joy Patterson, our miracle girl!

PS  Chrissie did the BEST she's ever done with her hospital visit today.  She was such a BIG girl.  I was so proud of her!  She didn't freak out (for very long), and she didn't even cry when they drew blood!!!  It's the best I've ever seen her handle a hospital visit and medical staff, and while she did flip out for a brief moment (when they collected nasal mucous using a bulb syringe), she quickly regained composure and practiced wonderful self-control during a very stressful time.  We are so proud of our princess!


natali said...

I'll be praying for little Miss Chrissie :))

Debi said...

Praying for your miracle girl, Chrissie and your family and Drs. Dr. Porisch sounds amazing.
How do you sign up for this prayer chain?
Love and hugs and prayers,

Anonymous said...

We're praying for you - and know from experience a little of what you're going through. Our (now 4 yr. old, too!) Jeremiah had a potatoe-sized mass removed from his little brain when he was a baby. He gets MRIs often - and we understand how hard even THAT can be on them - AND on the parents and siblings! We will be praying for the doctors, for your family as you're waiting, and for a quick recovery. We'll also be praying that God get ALL the glory, and that many will see Jesus working in Sweet Chrissie's little life.
Love, your Ekklesia Sister,
Karen Stone

Lori said...

Dear Lorraine,
I can't bear the idea of ANY child suffering but for some reason, your Chrissie has touched my heart very deeply. If at all possible, could you email me an addy to send her a get well card sometime soon or (depending on finances on my end) some little toy or trinket? If you aren't comfortable, I totally respect that! I wish I could send ALL your kids something--they are all just precious!
I will of course be sure to pray for Chrissie. It is soooo awesome that her doctor is a Christian and will be the one in the O.R. with her! Praise God!
Sending prayers and hugs, Lori

Anonymous said...

I am new to your post...I have made a note to pray for Chrissie over the next few days and will put it in my Bible.

Amy said...

We are here praying!!! We love you guys! Hug that BEAUTIFUL, SWEET, PRECIOUS little girl of yours for us! Love, Amy

Megan said...

Praying for you today and throughout these next few days especially! Praying for God's hand to be upon the surgeons. Praying for all the specific details. Praying for blood clotting. Praying for Chrissie's heart. Praying for our Savior to heal this precious girl!

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