The Amazing Owen
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I'll have you in my thoughts and prayers all day tomorrow! Hope all goes well!
Comment By Lisa At 11/4/2009 12:19 AM
We are always thinking of you and may God grant you the strength to get through the days ahead.
Comment By Susan Heinze At 11/4/2009 7:29 AM
Oh I wish the neurosurgeon had viewed the images much earlier too! The last thing you need is more to worry about - at the last minute! You guys will be in our thoughts all day! Hoping everything will go perfectly! Big hugs!
Comment By Melanie At 11/4/2009 8:09 AM
Hang in there! You know we're thinking about you!
Comment By Rich At 11/4/2009 8:19 AM

Original Entry:
A Long Day
Well our long string of pre-op Dr. appointments is over.  The first three quarters of the day went quite well. They did the usual of height, weight, blood pressure and explaining where to go and what to do tomorrow.  They took the usual blood for testing.  They also did some things that we hadn't experienced before.  They took detailed pictures by a professional photographer for use during the surgery.  Then they measured every possible aspect of his head with different sets of calipers.  When all that was done we went to meet with the plastic surgeon Dr. Fearon.  That meeting went well.  He explained the procedure in detail again and checked out Owen's head.  We left in a pretty good mood.

Then came the meeting with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Swift. He brought up Owen's MRI and CT scans that we had brought with us and began to discuss the complications that he saw.  We thought that he had already seen the scans a month and a half ago when we asked if Owen was a candidate for the surgery, but as it turns out he saw them for the first time today.  He explained that Owen has a Chiari malformation, which is something that we had never specifically discussed with Owen's normal neurosurgeon.  Before today it didn't really matter - Owen does not have any of the symptoms that are usually associated with a Chiari.  Like everything else with hydrocephalus, a Chairi malformation can cause everything from severe symptoms to none.  So up until now it wasn't really all that important I suppose to know this.  However it does make a difference for cranial vault reduction surgery. 

If you follow the link above you'll get a more detailed explanation of what a Chiari malformation is.  Basically the problem is that when they change the shape of the head it is possible that they could put more pressure on the parts of the brain that are already too far down in the skull.  So he is planning on removing some bone at the base of the skull to allow the base of the brain some room to compensate.  This, of course, increases the risk of the surgery. He said that these problems would happen within a day or two of the surgery if they were going to happen.  If they do, then they would have to go in again to fix them. 

This was a very long appointment because Dr. Swift took a great deal of time to describe everything to us in great detail.  We considered the possibility of just going home.  After much soul searching though, we decided to go forward.  Owen's frustration with his inability to get up and go has been increasing daily.  We really feel that his quality of life is being heavily impacted by the size of his head and that there is a possibility of a great deal of benefit for him from this surgery.  But we really wish that this had been found a month ago rather than today at the last appointment 12 hours before the surgery. 

So the plan is for surgery to start tomorrow morning at 7:30 am. I'll be updating the progress from my phone tomorrow.  Keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow please, it's going to be a rough, but hopefully rewarding day.

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