Wednesday, June 13, 2007


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.


Anonymous said...

Thank God surgery was a success. That's great news that Claire didn't require a patch and that it was able to be done laproscopically. Stay strong, Claire!

Love Lauren
Avery's Mommy 3/17/06-4/3/06

Amy said...

Glad to hear everything worked out so well! Hopefully that is a sign that the new few weeks will go as well too.

Cathy said...

Thanks for the update! I'm glad that is behind her and you guys. Now it's onward and upward and before you know it, you will hopefully be headed for home with her.

Gillian said...

God bless you and God bless little Claire. My prayers are with you as she now recovers from her surgery.

One Day at a Time said...

What a fighter you have...she certainly has angels watching over her.

When my son was young he had a very serious disease. One of his doctors told me that it would make him a stronger person as he grew older and you know it has. He doesn't sweat the small stuff, he values what is important.

You and your family will appreciate so much more of little Claire. Moments that many parents take for granted you will stand in awe of.

Sending love and prayers,

Anonymous said...

James and Cindy:
This is truly an answered prayer and miracle that all went so well. You are going to have a little angel living with you.
We are all so excited for all 3 of you and will continue to pray for complete recovery.

Much love,
John and Wanda Lovoy

Anonymous said...

James and Cindy: Our prayers and thoughts are with you. We are very concerned about Claire and also both of you. I know how exausting it is to be away from home at a hospital but you wouldn't have it any other way. Take care of Cindy as she needs her strength back. We all know how powerful prayers are and you all are certainly in our prayers. Let us know if we can do ANYTHING.

Gail Anthony

Lindsey said...

I am so glad that everything went well! Things have certainly worked out better than they could have. We will all continue to pray for you and your family. Hopefully Claire will be able to go home soon.

kathryn said...

We're so glad to hear the surgery went well. We'll keep praying for sweet baby Claire knowing that God has already done amazing things to heal her and will continue to show His strength through her.

love -
Allan, Kathryn, Anna, Aaron, Grace, and Sam

It's just enough to be strong
In the broken places, in the broken places
It's just enough to be strong
Should the world rely on faith tonight
-- Jars of Clay

The Pickens Family said...

We're so glad to hear that Claire's surgery went well. We will continue to pray for a healthy recovery and that all goes well in the coming weeks. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!

We Love you all,

Michael, Tammy and John Michael

Shelli Smith said...

Cindy and James,
I was trilled to read your blog this morning. As I sat in church last night with the childern leadind the worship service I was praying for you guys. I didn't know exactly what time her surgery started, but knew God was at work. I pray that God continues to plant a hedge of protection around Claire as she heals and becomes stronger every day. You will continue to be in my prayers

To Avery's Mommy, if you need someone to talk to who has been where you are, please visit me on my blog at

God bless you!!

Anonymous said...

Tammy and I have been praying for everything to go well. I am so glad everything has been a success so far. Please know that your family is constantly in our prayers.

Michael, Tammy, and John Michael Pickens

Anonymous said...

James, Cindy and Claire,

I was so thankful to read the report this a.m. and find that Claire's surgury was a success. I checked the blog several times last night hoping for a good report and I prayed for you all day yesterday. God does work miracles for us and he has definitely been with you throughout your entire experience. May God continue to take care of Claire and James and Cindy over the next few months as each of you heals.

My continued prayers....
Lisa Avant said...

Praying for a wonderful recovery for your little miracle. We serve a Sovereign God!

Fellow Hunter Streeter

Jennifer said...

That is AWESOME!! I didn't know that they were doing repairs lyposcopically. That is great!!! They were able to use Caden's diaphragm too, so he didn't get a patch either. We were told the same thing about the chances of reherniation (hasn't happpened yet...knocking on wood). I pray that she goes through the next hurdles as quickly and as successfully as she has been through the ones so far!!!

God Bless!
Mommy to Caden LCDH 6-1-05

Anonymous said...

So glad your baby is on the road to recovery and did well in surgery.