It feels great to be on the OTHER side of Ashlyn's brain surgery! It was difficult. It was emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining. I have no idea how many times I prayed in the days leading up to her surgery, the day of her surgery, and after her surgery. Did I say, it was difficult?
I can't even explain how hard it was to see our precious daughter like this:
Our hearts broke, but at the same time, it was bitter/sweet. We knew she was getting the necessary help that she needed. We trusted the surgeon and his team and we let him know that he was surrounded with prayer. It was humbling to see over 900 hits on Ashlyn's blog the day of her surgery. It brought me to tears.
Recovery was rough. For a week and a half, we felt like we had a newborn baby again. When Ashlyn was awake, she was crying so we were trying to comfort her. We tried to get her to eat and drink. She was awake four times a night and my husband and I took turns consoling her. She was on pain meds around the clock. Again, it was hard to see Ashlyn like that and know she was in pain.
Now that I have more time to reflect on the journey, I can't stop thinking about a few things. What really brought all of this home was when the doctor sat down with us immediately following surgery and explained how well the procedure went. He said "her brain was bulging out, and it was a very necessary surgery." I guess this is good and bad. He said Ashlyn only lost about a teaspoon of blood! Wow! The doctor said he didn't even need to prepare in advance for a blood transfusion.
The surgeon also explained that he put a patch in her head to make more room for Ashlyn's brain. He proceeded to explain that the patch was made out of the "outer covering of a human heart, a heart that someone didn't need anymore." WOW! I still can't fathom this. Amazing! Thank you to the donor! Thank you for helping our daughter! Whoever you are, thank you. I pray that your family will know that your precious heart helped our precious little girl.
The whole journey of Ashlyn's surgery has been a miracle, from all of the doctor's appointments falling into place, getting into doctor's offices quickly, getting MRI's, the older girls being on spring break the week of surgery, the in-laws traveling down to help with the older girls, people praying, friends providing meals, cards and love gifts, gas money, and on and on. We are truly grateful. We serve a BIG GOD!
Today, Ashlyn is back to her old self! She recovered quickly and it right back into all her mischief and no good. All of her doctor's visits have gone well and we are hoping and praying that the surgery will help her for the rest of her life, even though her condition is incurable. She will go back to the Children's Hospital in a few months for more follow up and another MRI.
If you would like to read more about Ashlyn and her condition called Chiari Malformation, follow the link to her blog Chiari Hope.