Surgery Results

Thanks for praying for Caroline! Yesterday's surgery went "kind of" well. I've had a ton of questions from many of you, so I thought I would answer you all in one place.

How many fluid-filled areas does she have?
Like I mentioned, she had two areas of infection (actually more, but two big areas). She was out-cold for the procedure and they were able to re-scan both lesions Tuesday morning. The first pocket was drained easily and they left the drain in place. Prior to draining it was the size of a softball. The second lesion was tricky and it really isn't until you see the CT scan live and in person that you understand the complexity.

Why did they leave one of fluid pockets?
The pocket of fluid is at the base of her abdomen. It is precariously tucked behind her bladder and uterus and in front of her rectum. On the sides it is flanked by minor arteries toward the back and major arteries toward the front.
In order to drain, they guide a needled into the middle of the pocket, place a tube into the pocket and leave a drain in place for a few days.
The safest approach is from the back/side, but she would have a tube going through her butt muscle (I'm not trying to be graphic, but imagine a pencil going through your butt-cheek while you are sitting in a hospital bed...not very comfortable huh?).
The decision was to leave it, because it had shrunk from the size of a lemon to the size of a lime. Not great, but it was shrinking...and the surgeon did not feel comfortable plunging through arteries and leaving a drain through so much muscle.

Now what do they do?
They drain the big abscess and see if her body kicks in to attack the second smaller one and the remaining little ones. They have her on a full compliment of antibiotics through her IV.

How long until we know?
Every day they draw blood and check her numbers. By last night, her white blood cell count dropped in half, which means that her body is not "fighting" as hard or it is not working so hard on simple terms...her body is winning! Her surgeon was pleased with that fact.
On Thursday, they will take another scan to evaluate the size of the remaining pockets and decide how to attack them.

What can we do to help? Do you need anything? Can we watch your kids? Do you need food?
We are taking this one day at a time. We share sleeping responsibilities at the hospital and there have been a few we've asked to relieve us over night, so we can stay home with all the kids.
So far, the kids have been doing well in the midst of worry and just plain missing their sister.
We have food!
So many people have asked and I promise we will ask you if we think there is something that we need, but until then...choose an hour every day that you will go to the Lord in prayer for healing, for peace, for rest, and for all of us to learn from God.

What about your other kids?
The other 7 Fletcher kids have been taken care of by some good friends and family. They are all worried about their sister as we reach the two-week mark with her gone. Over the years, we've had people that consistently love our children and enjoy having them in their homes. For us, knowing that our kids will be somewhere they are being cared for by people that actually like them (not just watched or nannied) has been great.
Having two teenage boys has also been a great blessing. These guys have been diligent to keep school work going, play with little siblings, handle change on the fly and understand the pressures put upon two weary parents. I can't say enough about these guys.

Can we visit Caroline in the hospital?
Hospital rules dictate no children, apart from family. Other than that, since each day is different, just text us first and we can let you know if it is a procedure day or a rest day!

...and now for the unspoken questions or comments...yes I've heard about these too..."
-No, there was no lesson to learn. The flu hides appendicitis remarkably well. We took her to the ER as soon as we thought we should have... :)
-Yes we know what our kids are doing/not doing while we are gone. I'd act funny too if my parents were missing and stressed. It may seem like they are watching movies, playing video games, texting (us), and spending a lot of time with friends! We know...and we're cool with it! Like your mother always tells you - don't judge a book by it's cover! :)

Thanks for the love and care you've shown for all of us with facebook messages, text messages, emails, and phone calls. We do our best to update facebook or the blogs, but we forget and it gets busy and we get tired...yet it is important to proclaim the accomplishments of God and I don't want to forget!

Lastly, remember our hope is not in doctors or in antibiotics or in surgeries or in timing. Our hope remains steadfast in God. He can use any means necessary, including modern medicine, but it is always Him that heals and always for His purpose and for His Glory!

Quietly making noise,