Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11 - The Diagnoses From the Attending

Ok, I'm going to try and explain what the attending neurosurgeon told us this evening. Any doctors, nurses (or spouses thereof) please excuse my ignorance.

She definitely has hydrocephalus. So hydrocephalus basically means one of the ventricles is enlarged with fluid and under pressure. This pressure pushes brain tissue up against the skull, and can sometimes even enlarge the head. In Shelby's case, this enlarged ventricle is also coupled with an area of the brain that is thinner than normal anyway. So, even when they relieve the pressure, that portion of the brain will still be a little undersized. The extent of that is unknown right now.

The affected area is the right, back, and upper portion of the brain. These areas control the motor skills and vision of her left side. The good news is that so far, her left side motor skills dont seem different than her right side. It sounds like the cognitive portions of the brain which are toward the front are much less affected. Of course the neurosurgeon can't really predict anything with much accuracy right now.

We will be coming back to Duke many times in the next few years. One thing we really like is that they have a developmental program here which, along with our pediatrition in Asheville, will be following Shelby's development progress and looking for anything unusual.

The bottom line is that surgery is fairly basic, and we won't know much about long term effects. The doctors have seen the whole spectrum from no impairment to pretty serious long term disabilities. The doctors seem pretty confident that she will not fall into the latter category.

We will update tomorrow after the surgery which is sometime in the afternoon. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!


  1. I am praying through the afternoon for divine guidance for the surgeons, immediate healing and easy recovery for Shelby, and comfort, peace, and strength for mommy, daddy and all the family and friends that love each of you so much.

    Dana Farrell

  2. Tiffany,
    I don't know if you remember me, but I grew up with Susannah and Melanie Rogers. Their mom told my mom about Shelby and sent us your blog link. I just wanted to tell you that we're keeping y'all in our prayers. We spent a looong time in the NICU and at Egleston. Our twins were two months premature and one had severe airway complications. I know how hard and scary it is to have a child in the hospital and to not know what the next day will bring. And we can certainly identify with trying to keep things as normal as possible for an older child while your entire life is being turned upside down. Just remember that you'll get through this and she'll be fine and this will all seem like a bad dream.
    In fact, I told my mom yesterday, "Man, I don't know how she's getting through this." Then I just started to laugh, because we were doing the same thing less than a year ago! You'll be amazed at how quickly life gets back to normal. But we will continue to pray for Shelby's quick and total healing- she is beautiful!!!!
    -Cameron (Sawyer) Mikulak

  3. Tiffany, that is one beautiful girl. Bryce and I are thinking of your Shelby today as she is in surgery. Actually, we live right off Shelby Avenue here in Nashville! Melanie sent me the blog and we will certainly be praying. -Beth Eichelberger