Thursday, June 27, 2013

Beach Trip 2013

Before Shelby's surgery last week, we traveled as a family to North Myrtle Beach. We had a few days of family time with just the four of us and then my parents and Chris, Grant, and their kids came down for the remainder of the week. It was nice to have some family time and extended family time and it is always great watching Harding and Shelby with their cousins. Emotions were high and Trip and I were both very anxious about Shelby's surgery, but we relaxed as best we could and enjoyed each other and the beach. We wanted Shelby to get in lots of swimming time since she can't for a month post-surgery and we wanted Harding to have fun too. Mission accomplished!

We left at 6 am and the kids actually slept part of the way. They have always been so great on road trips.

Enjoying some time on the beach with my sweet kiddos. Its not as relaxing as it looks though because these two like to stay busy.

I snapped this one of Trip and the kids on Father's Day. What a great Dad he is too!

Harding found his first shark's tooth....a Mattice family tradition. There were so many on N. Myrtle.

I love this one of Shelby kicking the soccer ball with Trip. She was so happy walking in the surf.

Harding got really into doing silly jumps. Kate Leffler...we'll have to teach him "The Newspaper". :)

We got to be with sweet Gardner on his first birthday. He knew just what to do with that cupcake and licked all the icing off first.

Cousins photo shoot on our last night was like herding cats, but bribing them with more cupcakes seemed to encourage better cooperation.

My angels! The salty beach air made Shelby's hair even more gorgeous.

Harding and Shelby slept in a double bed together. This was taken the night before her surgery.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shelby's surgery and hospital stay

Shelby's shunt revision was last Thursday. Trip and I left the beach early that morning completely dreading what was ahead, but everything went smoothly and Shelby handled all the doctors, nurses, needles, and general "messing with her" much better than we had anticipated. Dr. Grant only had to replace the top part of her shunt this time (no belly incision necessary). As a result, Shelby was much less sore and was able to be mobile quickly after the surgery. The catheter on the top half of the shunt was completely blocked, so she would have probably shown signs of the failure soon and I'm glad it was caught and dealt with before she got sick. Since Shelby's surgery was scheduled and this wasn't an emergency situation like last time, Duke Children's scheduled Shelby some time with a child life specialist during pre-op. Judy played with Shelby and talked to her about the surgery. She and Shelby even did a mock shunt replacement surgery on a doll. This was a wonderful experience for Shelby--she was paying attention and I think it helped make everything else go more smoothly. After having a rough time coming out of anesthesia, Shelby was up reading books and feeding her baby the evening of the surgery and amazed our nurse with her post-surgery appetite. By the next morning, Shelby was pushing baby through the hallways on the children's floor (with Trip following her with the IV drip). We were on our way home by mid-day Friday...definitely our best and quickest hospital stay with Shelby to date! Thanks Duke Children's, Dr. Grant, and Judy for everything. And thanks to all our friends and family for the prayers and positive thoughts.

It is hard to see in the picture but Shelby and "Baby" received matching hospital bracelets from Judy.

Judy introducing Shelby to Ernie and showing her his cool hospital gown.

Shelby got to give Ernie his medicine through the IV.

Judy showed Shelby how Ernie would get a new shunt to make him feel better.

This is sleeping beauty Shelby in the post-op recovery room. Things were a bit rough there for awhile once she woke.

Feeding baby and reading books just a couple hours after surgery...AMAZING!

Walking around and charming everyone in sight the next morning.

Harding stayed at the beach with my parents and we Facetimed him the next morning....the marvels of technology!

Shelby walked out of the hospital all by herself, telling everone "Bye, see ya later".

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shunt Life

Sometimes malfunctions are obvious because your child is in pain, lethargic, or constantly vomiting. Sometimes shunts stop working and your child does not show any symptoms. This is why we have routine shunt check-ups every year or so with an MRI or CT scan and then an appointment with the neurosurgeon to review it.

Shelby and I were at Duke yesterday for one of those routine check-ups. We were fully expecting an excellent report so Trip did not accompany us. Shelby did well with the sedation and was still pretty loopy in the examination room when Dr. Grant showed me the brain scans and we compared them with her scans back in April of 2012. Yesterday's scans showed obvious compression on her right ventricle. Dr. Grant said he has no idea what is happening, but the shunt is not doing what it is supposed to and Shelby needs a new one before her left ventricle becomes affected.

It is not lost on me that today is June 12th. Shelby received her first shunt at Duke on June 12, 2009 when she was only a week old. Shelby's shunt replacement surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, June 20th. Three shunts in four years is not cool at all, but there are many people who have had it worse. So goes life with hydrocephalus and a brain shunt.

I am trying not to have a pity party for myself or Shelby so here are the positives:
1. We probably caught this early and Shelby is not sick or in pain right now. This is not an emergency situation. We will not have to go to the ER or take an ambulance to Duke (like last time). 
2. Next Thursday will not be our first rodeo (so to speak). We know what to expect with this surgery and recovery. Shelby will probably be walking around, playing her piano, pushing her baby in the stroller and being her usual sassy self by Saturday.
3. It is summer break and I won't have to take any time off of work (wait, IS this a positive?).
4. Dr. Grant is awesome and we have complete confidence in the care that Shelby receives at Duke Children's.

We head to the beach on Saturday and then will be cutting our vacation short to go to Duke. As always, we appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts for our sweet girl.