08 April 2010

Chics Dig Scars... Right?

I've written about Sheridan's heart previously.

And... it happened.

Sheridan's cardiologist is recommending surgery. Of the open-heart variety.

This sucks.

I knew this day would likely come... I was actually pretty okay with the news in the examination room. I know all the reasons why this is the right move. Why this is necessary. How it will help Sheridan. It's all about doing what is best for him in the long run.

But then I look at him.

And I get teary.

I know the surgeons are skilled. That's not the issue.

I know the procedure is wildly successful and very common. That's not the issue.

I know Sheridan will reap heaps of benefit from the surgery. That's not the issue either.

It's his heart, you know? His heart.

And somebody is going to take my baby out of my arms. Cut him open. Stop his heart.

And they'll repair it. In an instant he'll be fixed... and then the healing begins. Lots of healing.

I know Sheridan is strong, healthy, resilient. He's such a hard worker. I never doubt his ability. I never doubt his strength. He amazes me every day.

So what the heck am I so sad about? Sometimes I get frustrated that this scares me.

Perhaps it's that from the moment he is taken from my arms, I'm no longer the one in control (um, yeah, control freak much?). I don't want anybody doing anything to him. But they're not doing anything to him... they are helping him. In a way, helping us save his life down the road by preventing long-term issues that could have profound and devastating effects when he's older.

I know I'm definitely scared of the risk of infection. That's the hardest sentence to write out loud... like even saying it is bad luck. Ugh. I don't like this paragraph so I'm moving on...

And the scar... I just love his perfect little chest. But it will still be perfect.

And I've seen first hand how Gabby came through the same surgery like a TROOPER. Seriously. That girl never lost her fire or spunk. 

Bottom line, although Sheridan's defects are small, they are not making the progress one would expect to see if they are going to close on their own. We could certainly wait another year/year-and-a-half, but it is highly unlikely the extra time will make a difference for the VSD (the others rarely, RARELY close on their own). We've always walked the tightrope of waiting to see what happens (just monitoring it like we have been and hoping the holes close), but also recognized that at some point we risk long-term health consequences. At what point do we say, "Ok, we're now at the point where waiting brings diminishing returns and might result in negative consequences down the line"?

Well, we've reached that point.

On average, the rule of thumb is that if these holes haven't closed by 3 years old, surgery is the answer. We could certainly wait until he's 3, but given there is little improvement (and certainly not what would be expected if the holes were to close on their own) - meaning chances are slim they would close on their own - it's better to close the holes sooner rather than later. Also, I don't want to wait until Sheridan is 3 going into preschool. He'd have to miss 2-3 months likely, and although that wouldn't impact most typically-developing children, that's HUGE for Sheridan. I don't want it to impact his transition to preschool and learning with/from all of his peers.

Right now, we have no timeline. The cardiologist (whom I ADORE by the way - okay, I'll admit he's also very good looking so that doesn't hurt) is bringing Sheridan's case to the surgical team for review. He'll present Sheridan's case this week or next and get back to me in the next couple weeks with the result.

All in all, I'm really okay with it. I am. Truly. My head is totally in the game. It's just taking me a while to feel okay with it.

Besides... some chics really dig guys with scars, right?


  1. Oh, Lisa. (((((((((HUGE HUGS)))))))))))) to you, mama. I'm all teary over this. Having had to hand Finn over for a couple of surgeries, I know exactly what you're talking about.

    Just for the record, I'm one of those chicks who dig scars on a guy though ;)

  2. This made tears run right down my face. I so know where you are coming from. Hold tight to your faith. All will be okay.

    As far as missing 2-3 months of preschool. That is highly unlikely. Carly had her 2nd heart surgery at 29 months. She was up and playing in the playroom at the hospital 30hrs post op. We were home on day 4 post op. She was up and playing like nothing ever happened. We even went on vacation after her 6 week post op check up. These kids bounce back quicker than you could ever imagine.

  3. Good lord, Lady. Get rid of THAT guilt. After having two go through it, I'd still feel punched in the face if we were forced to face another one. There's nothing easy or sugar-coated about it.

    Don't hesitate to let McDreamy know of the eebie-jeebies you get at the infection risk. Jace was started on two medications a few days before surgery to help protect him against picking up bacterial infections or MRSA staph. LC didn't have any pre-op meds (different hospitals), so I don't know that it's every hospital's protocol but it is certainly in the realm of possibilities and worth a check into.

    It's an incredibly powerful thing to risk breaking your own heart in order to provide Sheridan with a strong and healthy one. Can't wait to celebrate with you on the other side. :0)xoxox

  4. Scars are totally cool! Sheridan is going to rock his scar...I know it!

    It's a hard thing to be *okay* with. You might never actually get to that point, and that's typical. I think it is wise to get his surgery out of the way...the sooner the better!


  5. I really don't know what to say, because I can't imagine what you are feeling. This is the stuff I just do not like. This is when I wish things could be different....This is the stuff that makes us stronger. This is the stuff that makes us love even more. I am THINKING OF YOU and yours. xoxo ps-Scars do rock :)

  6. Hugs. I just left the cardiologist today with talk of a possible second for us in the distant future. Yes it is scary...but it if they have to do it they have to do it. You are strong and so is your little boy. You know what? You will learn to love that scar and when you give him a bath or change him you will marvel at how strong your little man is and what a gift he is(I know you already know this) Yes it is scary and it sucks. I mean who would want their child to go into surgery? Especially us control freaks. But it helps and often it needs to be done. And we will all be here with your to support you. Thinking of you. BIG BIG HUGS TO YOU

  7. Yea, chics dig scars :-) Like battle wounds... they bring character, right? Oh, Lisa, I still can imagine how difficult it is to hear the words. I'm also amazed at how BETTER kids do after surgery, healthwise. BIG HUGS to you for strength.

  8. Sheridan is gonna be such a BA with his scar. ;)

    Gosh, if you didn't wonder about these things or have fears or anxiety or whatever, then I'd be worried. If it's possible at all for your boy to be any more awesome, this surgery will do it. Believe that.

  9. Sheridan's NonnaApril 10, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    I'll be there for you and my Sunshine every step of the way, with all my love and support.

  10. Chics totally dig scars! When he is older he can tell stories about how he got it and girls will be swooning over him! =)

    You guys are in my thoughts and if you need t talk to someone that has been through the surgery process I am here!

  11. I'm not looking forward to Claire's surgery either. She's had a small heart surgery already, but the open heart kind is SOOOOO much scarier. I'm a control freak too, and will have to focus on the fact that God is in charge, not me. I'm still just looking forward to getting her surgery out of the way. We have about 6 weeks until then and I hate it hanging over my head.