Thursday, March 24, 2011

Laser Treatments

Today we traveled to Methodist Children's Hospital in San Antonio for our Holly to have a laser treatment done on her birthmark. Have I discussed her birthmark before? It's called a port wine stain. She's had it since birth (see a picture of it on tiny Holly here). Since you are all probably wondering, I was disappointed about it for about 10 seconds when she was born. Then I realized it doesn't matter because she's my baby and she's so beautiful! And it's just part of her. We don't really notice it. Anyway, it's pretty extensive, covering the upper left quadrant of her body, as well as her left arm and hand.

So...we had a referral to a dermatologist and a plastic surgeon here where we live. Fast forward almost a year and we are finally having the treatments done. We were in a ferocious battle with our insurance company, who didn't want to cover it for a variety of reasons. Long story short; it's NOT a cosmetic procedure. There are plenty of medical reasons to get it treated. And we're going to Methodist Children's so our insurance company will be happy.

I was a nervous wreck today because Holly needs to go under anesthesia for her laser treatments. All 10 of them. A big deal for me, who gets freaked out about every illness my children have (I work very hard to control my compulsiveness). She received a priesthood blessing last night, which I believe helped her a great deal. Andrew got to come with us, but since Josie is so little she wasn't allowed anywhere but the waiting room. So it was just Holly and I. I cannot begin to tell you how hard it was to put my own fears aside and put on a happy face for Holly. I knew how important it was that I remain calm and upbeat, and I am so happy that I held it together. Therefore, she held it together and did wonderfully.

The entire procedure (from when I left her when she was going to the playroom before the OR to when I got to go to her in recovery) probably took about 35 minutes. She was being so playful and talkative before her procedure, and afterward was just sweet and quiet.

She was pretty sleepy and didn't know what was going on at first. I felt kind of mean taking pictures of her, but I want everything documented. She handled the anesthesia perfectly. She just chilled out, ate a popsicle, and politely asked to leave. All the nurses loved her, and she seemed to like them a lot too.

Being in the hospital today around all the children and families gave me quite the lesson on gratitude. Holly was by far the most healthy child there; all the other children were obviously sick or injured. There was one family we went up to the floor with who had a baby who was 9 days old (!) and a 4-year-old who was having surgery. This little boy was so sick he couldn't walk. He obviously has had a hard little life filled with hospital visits and so much pain and sickness. I was horrified to think of what that family's life must be like. I also felt so grateful and so blessed to have two healthy children. Our biggest worry to date has been Holly's laser treatments. Big deal. They will be over soon and we can move on with our lives. Seeing that family and that little boy made me ashamed to be with my perfect, healthy children and thinking and feeling all the negative thoughts that I do sometimes. My life is by no means perfect, but it is easy in a lot of ways that their lives never will be.

This is how it looked after we got home. Terrible! She looks kind of like she has purple cheetah spots.

Don't worry, though. She felt just fine after she had a couple of square meals under her belt. It looks worse than it is so far; hopefully it will continue that way! We are under strict orders to rest for about 4 days and stay out of the sun for about 2 weeks until she's healed completely. Then we start the process all over again next month.

To make a long story short, we are exhausted and overwhelmed from all of the emotions of the day. I also feel so grateful for my husband and for my children and the life we have together. Holly was such a trooper today and I hope that all of her treatments will go this smoothly!


The Augers said...

Wow, I had no idea Holly had that! I watched a show about port wine birthmarks. A man had it really bad on his face and his surgeries to fix it were grueling. I agree, it is not cosmetic surgery at all! Hope the treatments work for her. Em has a birthmark on her chest, but it's just a little strawberry patch. We are lucky that's all it is. Good Luck!

brandi said...

Oh wow Katie! Bless her little heart. I have noticed the redness at church before but figured she just had sensitive skin or something. She seems to be taking it like a champ! I hope the rest of her sessions go just as well.

Joshily said...

Poor little Holly! I'm glad everything went well. She is such a good sport!

Juliekins said...

I agree that you totally don't notice her birth marks when you are around her because she is so full of personality. I also stopped thinking about it 10 seconds after knowing her. Those laser treatments look much worse than the birth mark. Holy cow! What a trooper!

p.s. Eli was just at Methodist Children's Hospital in San Antonio. Luckily all went well and he has no problems. (He was being seen for an extra...well, for hypospadius) But he is good to go.

Juliekins said...

Actually I wrote what Eli had wrong. He has epispadia, not hypo. And I spelled it wrong-it's hypospadias
These are problems in the development of the urethra, but he has no need of surgery. yay!

Christine said...

It certainly seems to hurt us more than it hurts her- thank goodness!!! What a sweet, brave little girl! xoxo

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