Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Repair surgery VICTORY!

Repair surgery #2 is in the books..and we are all still kickin'! Thank the Lord!

Yesterday morning before surgery, Clay was so awake and alert and he just seemed so calm. He was looking right at us as we rubbed his little head and kissed him all over. I told him about allllll you fine people, praying so hard for him. I told him to not worry, God's got him in his hands. I know he was listening to our pep-talk! He is so so brave.
Here's a couple of pics, but I wish you all could have seen him in person, being so strong before surgery:

They wheeled him down to the OR around 11:30 in the morning..we got a few phone calls in the waiting room to update us along the way, but Clay didn't get back up from the OR until 6 in the evening. I am so thankful we had a room full of family waiting with made the time much more bearable.

The game plan changed a bit once they actually got down to the OR. First, he had to have a new subclavian central IV line put in, plus another IV in his foot--all ports for fluids, meds & anesthetics. He also had an arterial line put in his wrist to monitor his blood pressures and to have good access to draw blood gas labs.
The surgeons must've debated about what to do next, but they ultimately decided to do the diaphragm repair first. I think the big man upstairs had a hand in that decision ;)
...After the patch was placed, one of the surgeons came to the waiting room and updated me & Eric. He brought a picture they took with a scope & showed us what the hole in his diaphragm looked like. He explained how the patch was placed, wrapping it around his esophagus, so that the esophagus acts as an anchor to the patch...they feel confident that it will hold up well.
...They covered the hole with an alloderm patch, the same type of patch used in the first repair. Alloderm is a material made of natural components that is supposed to allow the body to accept it better & form better tissue to it. In the picture, our surgeon pointed out an area of tissue that visibly had blood vessels running through it--he said that area was where patch was originally placed in the first repair & Clay's body tissue had grown to it--so that's really awesome! Hopefully Clay's body will also grow tissue to this patch & it will hold forever! So he will not ever have to go through this again! Please pray it does!
...Also pray that NO INFECTION develops! This is huge for Clay's recovery.
...So, after that update, we waited for another couple of hours. Then we got word he was about to come back up from the operating room and they didn't get to put in the g-tube. They think his stomach was in odd placement & they were afraid there was bowel in between his stomach & abdominal wall. Obviously, they don't want to tack his intestines in between, so they decided to just hold off on the g-tube. The surgery for that is really 'no big deal', especially after all we've already been through. So we'll cross the g-tube bridge in a few weeks.
...Eric & I finally got to go back to see him around 7. Poor little guy looked like he'd been to battle--which is exactly the case. The surgeons and everyone were really pleased with how he handled surgery. His vitals were very good and stable.
...His nitric oxide had to be turned up to 15 during surgery, and his oxygen was on 60%, all of his vent settings have stayed the same...and he had to go back on the milrinone last night (helps with blood circulation/heart function)...but given how intense the surgery was, I'd say he's kickin' major butt!!
...Our nurses said the anesthesiologists had to bring out the hardest type of narcotics they have to knock him down--he was fighting everything, drugs & all! He was still kicking his little legs & opening his eyes last night when we were there, despite being put back on the paralytic & two different types of sedation/pain meds. One of our nurses said he'd had enough drugs to put down an elephant--poor little guy. It's pitiful that my 6 month old baby has such a high tolerance for all of these drugs--and I dread the weaning process, whenever that starts. But for now, he really needs to be kept comfortable & calm, so please pray for him! And pray for no adverse effects of all the drugs.

I am so so so proud of my Clayton Cash. He is the bravest, strongest little guy.
Post-Op Pic...He is a warrior!!!!!

All I can say is Thank God. He has brought us over another huge obstacle...and He will be with us through recovery. Mark down another VICTORY!!!

And all of you are absolutely amazing...all of the prayers & love sent to our family makes this so much easier for us. Bless you all!


  1. I've been waiting for this update!!! Praise God that they were able to do the hernia repair surgery! Sitting here with tears in my eyes and I barely know you guys, but my heart is breaking for everything you and your little guy are going through, but thanking God that the surgery was a success. Continuing to pray for you, along with many, many others and can't wait until we can all celebrate with you when he finally gets to go home.

    1. I saw the story of your beautiful baby boy posted by a friend on facebook a few months ago and my husband and I have been praying for Baby Clay since then. So thankful God blessed him with a successful surgery. We will continue to pray daily for him to remain infection free and have a quick recovery. God bless and keep you all! Connie & Ronnie Willoughby