Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Glenn

I think I have a silent clock ticking in the back of my mind. We are almost counting down hours instead of days until surgery on Thursday. Thursday will go down as probably the hardest day of our lives so far. For the most part, I've put all thoughts and ideas about this day out of my head and am focusing on each hour and each moment instead. God has given us the ability to do this, and the strength to enjoy Blaise instead.

This morning about 7 before heading to work, in the midst of my cafeteria chocolate frosted donut, Dr. Hammel popped in to talk with me the surgery. I'll always appreciate his honesty, and how he took the moment to sit down on the couch next to me and talk to me one on one. He explained how the group of cardiologists came to the decision to do the Glenn instead of doing a transplant. In the end, both had their pros and cons, and honestly one probably doesn't outweigh the other by too much. The risk with transplant is rejection, harm of other organs, etc.  The risk with the Glenn and Blaise's coronary arteries is that the doctors have seen patients just like him that with no rhyme or reason or warning pass away. Hmm. Always something we've known. We shake it off and re-focus on today instead.  I mean, I might be prejudice, but with a kid this stinkin' cute- how can you not?!

We are doing good in "hospital world". Blaise has nurses wrapped around his finger. There is honestly a fight over who gets him each day.  Jessica remains at the top of his list. I worked all weekend trying to get him to laugh for me. Jessica walked in the room last night, said "Hi Blaise" and he took off giggling for about five minutes. I even got it on video. What a stinker.  The Olympics have also become a main-atraction for television watching. Speaking of which- Blaise is a tv addict. That kid can find the television in the room no matter what direction you hold him. He'll crank his head around and stare at the tv, totally mezmorized. In other random hospital news, the big dork that I am, actually got to meet Kristen, sock-monkey Charlie's mom yesterday! She was in the hospital visiting and I stumbled out of our room to admit how dorky I really am.

We've been told Blaise will be the second surgery of the day on Thursday. From my deductions that means somewhere between 11 am- 2 pm.  Based on my knowledge, it will probably last about 4 hours. He will be put on a form of bypass during this. They will use the same incision line as before, and will again be cutting through his ribs. As Dr. Hammel explained, he can't go on full bypass because the blood flow and pressures to the coronary arteries need to stay the same.

So, on to more important educational things. Your anatomy lesson for the day.  An explanation of the  Bi-Directional Glenn, 2nd stage in the repair for his heart. He is down the single ventricle path called the Fontan Procedure. Basically, at the end of the surgeries, he will function with only half of his heart, hence "single ventricle." We're very fortunate to have this option and there are many kids and some adults who live today with the Fontan.

According to statistics, our risks have been cut significantly since making it to the Glenn. 25% of babies don't survive to the Glenn and now that number has been cut in half, post surgery and recovery after the Glenn. A big relief yet still scary at the same time. Here's the info. about the Glenn surgery. Really it's just replacing what he already has and cuts down the work load of her heart since it's not having to pump blood to the lungs now. His O2 saturations (sats) should hang in the low 80's (healthy hearts are 99-100%) . Babies typically really take off after having their Glenn since they don't feel so tired. They start eating better, growing and hitting those developmental milestones. What wonderful news to hear. Improved eating...amen!

The aim of this operation is:
• To maintain the flow of deoxygenated (blue) blood to the lungs by attaching the superior vena cava directly onto the pulmonary artery. This is called a cavo pulmonary shunt.
• The Gore-Tex shunt that was inserted in the operation for stage one will be removed.
This operation is necessary as the baby's heart will have grown but the Gore-Tex shunt will have remained the same size. The shunt will therefore no longer provide the baby with oxygen it needs. Since the cavo- pulmonary shunt is made from the baby's own tissue, it will grow with the rest of the heart. It is passive blood flow to the lungs, not pumped since the right side of the heart cannot function in this manner.
The final operation is called the 'Fontan Operation', which is often done at between two and four years of age.

We've had lots of people offering to help in one way or another. The biggest help we can get is prayers. Our God is amazing and one that creates miracles. We pray for a successful surgery, a easy stress-free recovery, and peace of mind. God knows his plan- we are excited to see it unfold.


  1. Ha! I'm glad that you did come out and let me know how "dorky" you are! It was great meeting you both and I am sooo glad that Mr. Blaise likes his monkey. Big thoughts and even bigger prayers coming your direction this week.

  2. Erin, Michael and Blaise,

    Not a day goes by that we don't think of you guys in our prayers. We will say many extra prayers for a safe and successful surgery tomorrow! We will be thinking of you tomorrow! Give Blaise a big hug from his buddy Brayden!


    The Peterson's

  3. Kathryn and I discuss Blaise's progress each day. But when we talk about what is amazing, it is you. Kathryn jokingly emailed me about how impressed she was with all your medical knowledge which seemed so well hidden during biology class! Just know that your whole family is being wrapped tightly in a blanket of love.

  4. Erin and Mike,
    I will be thinking and praying for you all day tomorrow. My heart goes out to you. Stay positive,very very important. God will be watching over you and Blaise.
    Katie P's aunt Mick