Claire had her surgery today. They ran late on the schedule and didn't transport her down to the operating room until about 5:30 pm. The nurses told us they usually don't start surgeries that late, that they postpone them to the next day. But our surgeon wanted to go ahead and do it (we were VERY thankful!) Here is a picture of her being transported to the OR. They let us walk down there with her.
They began the surgery at 6:15 pm and finished at around 10:00 pm. They were able to do the repair laparoscopically. She has four small incisions, one of which is in her belly button.
There were a lot more organs in her chest than they originally thought. Her stomach, spleen, a smaller second spleen, her small intestine, part of her large intestine, and part of her liver were all up. They were able to pull all of this down.
The hole in her diaphragm was pretty large. The surgeon thought she would have to use a gortex patch but was able to stretch enough of the diaphragm muscle across to stitch to the other side. Her left side is pulled in, but will eventually round out as the diaphragm muscle stretches out. There is a chance of re-herniation if the muscle pulls loose from the side, but they will do x-rays on her over the next several years to catch this if it happens.
Her left lung is very small and collapsed. Now that there is space in her chest, her left lung will be surrounded by fluid and then will hopefully grow. But it will never be the same size as her right lung. Her heart will eventually shift left towards its natural position, which will allow her right lung to grow larger and not be squished.
We got to see Claire after the surgery and she is completely zonked out and as limp as a rag doll (they gave her medicine to paralyze her). She is very puffy/swollen from the surgery. She is on fentanyl for the pain.
She has several more hurdles to clear. She needs to heal from the surgery. She needs to be weaned off the ventilator. Once off she needs to start eating -- either by feeding tube if necessary or by bottle if she breathes/swallows good. The timeframe for each of these steps will be driven by how well Claire handles them, but the doctor said that if everything goes perfectly she might be able to come home in two or three weeks.
Thank you so much for praying for Claire today. It is obvious that God has had His hand in this all along and will continue to be with us.