This is a blog for my daughter Scarlett. She was born with a complex congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. She is my little hero.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Extremely Scary Surgical Consult

Okay... only two words can describe the surgical consult this morning...Extremely Scary.

I love Dr. Cleveland for not sugar-coating it for me and being straightforward....but Wow...I guess I wasn't prepared for all the 'risks' that are involved with my baby's upcoming surgery. Don't get me wrong. I know that docs always scare patients with the 'worst case scenarios', but this was different. You see, this marks my 3rd surgical consult with Dr. Cleveland. The first was when I was still pregnant. The second was when Scarlett was one week old (the night before her first surgery), and today was the third.

The first and second surgical consults were the ~same schtick~ you get with any surgery.. this risk, that risk, blah blah blah... They always tell you about possible risks, worse case, etc... But this time, when Dr. Cleveland told me that Scarlett was at quote: "a very real risk" of a stroke, VCP (vocal cord paralysis), other random paralysis, possibly requiring a pacemaker, and had higher risk of not even surviving the surgery, I had a hard time not losing it.

I guess normal open heart surgeries on infants have a success rate of 95% (or have a mortality rate of 5%). I knew this the first time around. However this time, Dr. Cleveland said that for her type of surgery that increases to a mortality rate of 7-10%. And although one would think that 90% success rate are 'good odds', all I could think is that I have a 1 in ten chance of only having my baby for 13 more days. Her surgery is scheduled for Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 7:30am.

For her last surgery, Dr. Cleveland was very reassuring during the consultation(s) and I felt pretty confident that she was gonna be okay. I wasn't hysterical (like I felt today). Last time, Dr. C made me feel like this is a routine surgery, will take a few hours (4-5), she'll be fine. Last time, they were able to have her as the '2nd case' meaning there will be another surgery before or after hers. No Big Deal... right?

This time, Dr. C said that this is NOT like the first surgery. This one is extremely complicated, will take considerably longer (7-10 hours?). Her's will be the only surgery that day. It is very complex and there are a lot of variables involved and much greater risks involved. Last time she was on a ventilator, but not a heart/lung bypass machine. This time they will stop her heart and she'll be on the bypass machine. Which increases a whole slew of very real, very scary complications and risks.

I know Scarlett needs this surgery, and I pray that everything will be okay, but I am so scared now. Yes, I know that Dr. C has to disclose all the risks, and yes, I realize he has to tell me the worst case scenario, hello... I'm not an idiot. But I left today's surgical consult more worried than ever. I'm going to be a basket case in 13 days. : ( God, please take care of my little Scarlett, I love her so much. Send your angels to watch over her before, during and after her surgery. Amen.


  1. Dear Melodie, I've been following Scarlett's blog very closely. I can totally relate to your state of mind, anxiety's and fears. As a fellow heart mommma I want to to send you a cyber hug. From what I gather you are not too far away from me, please let me know if you would like to talk over the phone some time. Alexa, is also facing her "big" complex surgery next time around, was suppose to be in Sept, but is getting bumped (for now). Her's is called a Rastelli repair but our surgeon also said it's like a 7 hour surgery. Scary, plus bypass like you mentioned, which she's never been on before. I don't know how I'll be a few days before surgery but I guess I would want to spend a lot of time with my baby and spoil her, etc. I know it's hard to remain positive, but think of the good. I am will be praying for her and Dr. C. Alexa, will also be getting a pulmonary conduit, so they have this in common, plus closing her VSD and ASD. Please let me know if I can help you with anything while she/your in the hospital.

  2. Although I can't understand all that you are going through, as one Mama to another, I can understand the fear and anxiety you are feeling. I just wanted you to know that you and Sweet Scarlett are in my thoughts and that I am praying for thousands of angels to watch over and protect her.

  3. Seriously it is quite interesting to read this scary surgical information of this page . It will surely help many.

  4. OMG! Have u recovered from that surgery nicely and effectively or how?