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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Revision to December Jaw Surgery

Katie and I (Dad) arrived back in Charlotte NC late Saturday night for Monday's surgery to strengthen KT's new jaw.  About a month ago, the left rib bone that was grafted to make her a jaw joint "popped," causing her a lot of pain. After analysis by a CT scan, it was indeed found to be a fracture.  The screws were hurting her badly.

We only plan to be here a week. Dr. Matthews suggested we use some of her iliac hip bone to add between the rib bone and the original jaw bone to strengthen it all into one strong jaw bone.  Katie had to make the decision on the spot in pre-op to decide whether she wanted:  a) to merely take out the offending screws and go on allowing the rib bones to eventually completely dissolve; b) go in and fix the left side only, which was the fractured side; or, c) go in and strengthen the right side as well, since it was also very weak and could eventually fracture as well.  It was a HARD decision, and she asked what I thought she should do.  It was difficult for me to tell her that I plain just did not know!  I received NO inspiration at all, and told her it was entirely up to her.  She thought, decided she should do the whole thing - both sides, and told Dr. Matthews so.  He then left to prepare (along with Dr. Franks and a Dr. Sanchez).

As soon as they left, Katie asked me if she had made the right decision. Again, I told her that I didn't know, even though I was secretly thinking that it surely would be a lot easier if we were just to get the screws removed, which would alleviate the pain, and move on.  But, I told her, Heavenly Father knows, so let's ask him.  She had me say the prayer.  I asked her what she felt after - because, again, I had NO inspiration!  She said she thought she made the right decision.

The rest of the pre-op wasn't real positive.   They couldn't get an IV in,  so that traumatized her.  They finally gave up so they could get it in under gas anesthesia once in the OR. She was very brave right up to the last minute, but lost it when she heard her Mom's voice on the phone. "I wish Mom was here." I'm definitely not as good a comforter.

Screws can come out now. He thinks we left her wired shut too long last time (because of the infection). The jaw needs to be used to strengthen. So it will only be wired shut 4 weeks this time. He says we're in uncharted territory - ­ he really doesn't know exactly how to approach this.

I was SO glad she decided to go ahead with it once I got the report from Dr. Matthews.  3.5 hours after rolling her back, Dr. Matthews just came out. I felt the Spirit strongly as he reported to me, which is great, because I left it totally on KT to make the decision this morning.  Here's his report: bone taken from right hip - stuffed in between the rib graft and the mandible (jaw). Rib graft was "viable" on both sides, meaning it was alive and bled, which is really good - that means it hasn't died. Soft tissue will hold the new graft in place while it adheres or molds into the bone on either side of it to make a strong, total structure. Screws were removed (yeah!). No new scars - used same old incision points. She will stay in the hospital tonight for sure. He didn't think the face intrusion would bother her much at all, as it wasn't as severe as last time.  However, that has not proven to be the case!  The first 24 hours have been pretty difficult and painful.

I told her I didn't think the hip thing would be too bad, because I had hip bone graft taken out when we were trying to save my leg several years ago, and it didn't bother me at all (that I can recall, anyway).  That has not proven to be the case either, as her hip is extremely sore.  She can barely walk on it right now.

Dr. Matthews looked me in the eye as he reported all this to me - in December, his eyes kept shifting away from mine, so I knew he wasn't totally confident in the results last time. I truly think KT made the right decision here, and that this will ultimately strengthen her jaw bone and make chewing a reality. I am SO happy! Your prayers have been heard, and they have given me strength, and blessed KT tremendously.

The secretions haven't been a big problem this round - they were one of the scariest parts of the recovery last December.  And of course, we are CERTAIN there will be no infection this time, which was the real big trial back then.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!!!!  We still plan to go home Sunday, so she can be with family and Oreo and Katniss, her animals.