Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Year Ago in Paradise

It is exactly a year to the day that we found out that our daughter needed heart surgery to correct a left pulmonary sling. She had her ultrasound scan on 31st March at the Apollo in Colombo. And was admitted the same evening for an angiogram to confirm the diagnosis.

April 1st. April Fools Day. But this was no joke. Once again I wa s on my own. M was in the country, and the vicintiy this time, but a pre-arranged moving date, and our allotted stay in the hotel having expired, it was now or never.

The big unknown and cause for anxiety was whether she would need her trachea operated on . 50% of Left Pulmonary Sling patients have complete rings of cartilage formed round their windpipe, which means these cartilage rings have to be cut out, and then the trachea 'joined together' again. Quite a complex procedure, lots of complications. The degree of relief the cardiologist showed when we discovered, joy oh joy that she was in the OTHER 50% made us realise that would have been much more serious (and would have involved a month in hopsital at least) And further operations. This was discovered via bronchoscopy at Great Ormond Street in June last year

It is amazing to think back on this last year and to see all that happened. I'm glad it's over.

We were so grateful to everyone for all the prayers and support we received in regards to her operation. We really did feel buoyed up by the love and concern shown to us. Our overwhelming feeling is one of gratitude that our daughter is now fit and healthy. She greatly surprised even the cardiologist and surgeon by how quickly she bounced back. And people in church were even more surprised to see her there 6 days after her surgery.

We continue to be so grateful to the amazing paediatric cardiologist who diagnosed her here in Colombo, the blessing of having medical insurance which meant we could have the op done where we chose and immediately. The team at Great Ormond Street were quite outstanding, tracheal surgery was not necessary, the operation went “as smoothly as I could possibly have hoped for” (the surgeon) and I have to say that despite being the most serious, it was the least stressful time I have spent in hospital with our daughter by a long way. She was not frightened (though she did protest loudly at times) and when we ask her about remembering being in hospital she always says “yes, balloons!” Not a bad way to remember heart surgery….

She now seems to have far more energy than before (quite a common outcome for heart patients evidently) which I am also grateful for, albeit exhausted by too. She has to return to GOSH for another bronchoscopy and CT scan this summer, but there are no concerns, it was a completely successful one-off op. They will just monitor her annually to see how the artery is growing, particularly where the scar tissue is.

I was having coffee with a friend here yesterday who, out of the blue, asked how I was after 'all the events of last year'. She said she had been quite worried, (SHE was worried, I was worried about me too. I didn't know where "I" had gone....) She said I was so quiet and withdrawn, and I seem a completely different person now.......

Well I am really, as well as being more me again, and being able to laugh about things, I am also different. These things do change you.

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