It started a couple of nights ago...Mackenzie was experiencing severe abdominal pain and nausea. She was in so much pain she was doubled over, vomiting and screaming in bed....unable to sleep. I spent the majority of the night in bed with her trying to keep her calm. Due to complications of being born at 23 weeks, Mackenzie has lost half of her intestines and colon. Stomach issues are not abnormal for her. But this time was different. This pain and discomfort started to happen at the beginning of the school year and has kept her from going to school on several occasions. Her last attack was a couple of weeks ago and this time it was worse. I asked Mackenzie where the pain was and she pointed to the area of her abdomen where her gall bladder is located. My instincts started telling me she had a gall stone.
The next day I called her Gastroenterologist and he scheduled an ultra sound and x-rays of her abdomen. While Mackenzie was laying on the hospital bed watching TV, I was closely watching the ultra sound screen. As the tech started looking at her gall bladder, I quickly noticed a round object, a rather round large object. It quickly confirmed my instincts...Mackenzie had a gall stone.
After speaking with her doctor this morning, it is clear that Mackenzie will need to have the stone removed. Typically this procedure is simple, however in cases like Mackenzie, it is complicated. Due to the many surgeries (we have counted over 20 surgeries in her lifetime) on Mackenzie's intestines, she has a lot of adhesions. Her intestines are fragile and have a tendency to perforate any time she has a surgery.
We will be meeting with her surgeon on Friday to discuss the options. It will be the surgeon that operated on Mackenzie many times when she was a little itty bitty baby. It will be fun to see him again and I know he will enjoy seeing Mackenzie and the progress she has made over the years. But at the same time, I know he will be sad to see her back in his office and operating room again.
After spending a few days with Mackenzie at home while she was sick, our refrigerator and pantry became bare. I was unable to do any grocery shopping forcing us to be creative with coming up with an option for dinner. Today, Mackenzie felt good enough to go back to school allowing me to finally make a trip to Target to buy much needed food for my family. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite things to do. My goal is to get through Target quickly as I cross off the items on my list. Yet to no avail, I always bump into a friend or neighbor and find myself visiting with them. Before I know it I am leaving Target after being there over an hour due to these frequent encounters. Today, I bumped into an old friend and we spoke quite sometime catching up with one another and filling her in on how I was doing. Soon my friend began telling me how I should publish a book utilizing the posts from my blog during my battle with cancer. I have been encouraged by many others to send my blog entries to a publisher.
This afternoon I decided to read through my blog entries beginning with day one...my diagnosis. I wanted to see if they truly were worthy of being published. As I was reading each blog I was listening to my cancer playlist in iTunes...all of the songs of hope I included on my blog. Tears streamed down my face as I was reading through each blog and each of the posts by friends and family. My mind was flooded with memories of the pain and suffering I experienced. It was difficult to read. But at the same time it reminded me of the TREMENDOUS love I felt throughout my battle. But more importantly it reminded me of the lessons I learned about trusting in God and leaning on him in difficult circumstances. Something I needed to be reminded of as I began to worry about Mackenzie and her gall stone.
Amazingly, I have been pretty calm. Well, not completely calm, but calmer that I would have been three years ago. Reading the blogs today also helped me to become aware of how much I have grown and how much more I trust God with difficult situations. Three years ago I would have allowed myself to be overwhelmed with fear as I think back to what Mackenzie experienced 10 years ago. Something I would not not want or nor want Mackenzie to relive. Today, I am entrusting Mackenzie to God and giving full control over this situation to Him. As always, she is so strong and such a trooper. Every day she amazes me with her positive attitude and fearless nature with all of that she struggles with in her life - more than any child should ever have to face in life.
As for my surgery, the plan remains the same...to have it done in March. A lot of planning is going on right now and I am frequently visiting with the surgeons that will be involved in the surgery. A plan has been set with utilizing bone and tissue from my shoulder to reconstruct the orbit underneath my eye. The grafted bone from my leg in my face will be taken apart and repositioned. Should my skin not stay intact, skin from my shoulder will also be transplanted. It will be complicated surgery, but as the days go I am becoming more and more ready for it to happen.
Please keep Mackenzie in your prayers over the next week. Pray the stone will not move into her intestines and that the surgeon will be able to remove it without any complications.