In a couple months and 25 major surgeries later we will be coming up on 5 years into this journey for Forrest. We hope the effort to finish the reconstruction of his cranium is in its last stretch. The last three weeks of tests to determine why he is over draining his cerebrospinal fluid have ruled numerous things out but have not given a definitive answer.
Monday's procedure is a estimated 8 hour major one (major and minor being defined by length of anesthesia and proximity to brain) and the goal is to use Forrest's bone to close the areas on the sides of his cranium. The hope is that not only will that finish the bony reconstructive procedure but provide protection against the atmospheric pressure that may be a cause of the over drainage. Dr. Kumar and his team will harvest bone segments from Forrest's ribs. Forrest discussed this with me and he decided against having Dr. Kumar create him a new girlfriend named Eve from his rib "due to upkeep costs and Other considerations."
Once the partial struts of ribs are taken and plated into place on the sides of his head. Next comes the concern of the flexibility of the skin and the ability to close the wound with existing skin. Followers of Forrest will remember last summer one of the major procedures (14 hours) was a free flap of skin muscle and fat from his back that was grafted onto his blood supply in his forehead and throat. That has been whittled away in subsequent surgeries and it is possible that another one may have to be taken from his leg to provide enough skin. Whether that is needed at all or whether it has to be done now or in the near future is the call of the surgical team while Forrest is on the table. When Mum asked Forrest tonight if he had any questions or concerns about the surgery tomorrow Forrest replied "No let's just get on with it already!" And so we shall.
What are the concerns? Risks from long term general anesthesia (Forrest has done longer procedures), infection (Forrest has beaten numerous bugs that have infected his various failed artificial material cranioplasties), post op pain (this will be significant due to the rib resection but he usually starts refusing the morphine like drugs by the second day post op and goes to Tylenol), blood clots and various other complications (get him up and moving ASAP). So Mom, Del, Kay, Vinaya, Tami and Toliver are particularly good at encouraging him to get up and moving post op, no matter how much it hurts.
So that is the overview of the procedure. We are blessed to have Dr. Kumar and his craniofacial reconstructive team and all of the nurses and techs at Hopkins, one of the finest hospitals in the world. We are also blessed with Forrest's army of friends,prayer warriors and well wishers who if they have a Team 44 green wristband wear it tomorrow! If not think of 44, always fighting the good fight.
Or perhaps more appropriately as Forrest, Nathan and JP sing, "Just keep walking". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hiXEU1TB-U
Proud to be part of Team 44
Life long pals Peyton, Corina, and Sarah brighten up the day and bring their special comaraderie to Forrest.
With so much love and support we cannot fail.