A Neurosurgeon

Today was the much anticipated neurosurgeon appointment. I am still being overwhelmed by messages of well wishes every day, and surprised at how many people remembered today was an important day for us. Our appointment happened to be at 2:30 in the afternoon. I felt like the whole morning dragged by. And after finally arriving at yet another new medical building, we got to fill out 30 pages of health information. Someone needs to come up with a baby package so I dont need to check the no column in every category possible. This is the beginning of my health care rant and I’ll end it there for now, though I could probably go on for pages and pages.

Our doctors PA examined Sawyer first, he was in a great mood and it was nice to see her want to entertain him with her Id cards. The surgeon followed soon after. Her first words out of her mouth was what a little adorable red head in room 4 as she barely opened the door before someone in the hallway asked her something. She did a very brief visual and physical exam and confirmed the diagnosis. Surgery is mandatory. I handled it much better today. Because I went in knowing the outcome. This time I was able to ask a million and one questions and she patiently answered each and every one. And offered to sit down with us again if we had any between now and the surgery. It will be in the early May time frame. Before we can schedule the surgery we have to see a pediatric plastic surgeon. I’m going to start losing track of how many Dr.’s we are seeing. And even though we have health care we have to wait for the appointment to  be approved by our plan. {I’ll never understand American health care.} So that should be somewhere in a 2 week time frame. He will then make the call on whether we still need a CATscan or just go straight to surgery. At least we have confirmed there will be no need for an MRI anymore. Wonderful news to me! One less sedation and Hospital visit.

However we will be spending some time in a Hospital. The surgery will take place at one of the teaching hospitals in Las Vegas. 2 surgeons, 2 PA’s, an anesthesiologist, and at least one resident. {Just so you know in my head I’m picturing the cast of Grey’s anatomy when I think of surgery. I mean McDreamy and McSteamy would be doing this particular surgery. If only that were true!} At least I can still find humor in tough experiences. We will have one longest morning of my entire life while we wait for this little baby to be operated on. She told us to expect a 7:30am appointment time and hopefully be able to see him again post op at Noon. 4 1/2 hours. I don’t even know how I will pass 16200 seconds that each feel like their own hour.

I’m going to go into some detail about the surgery now, so be warned to skip this paragraph if your queasy. MOM JUST SKIP IT! Seriously. Ive talked to 2 women in Canada who have gone through the same surgery. However today we discovered its not at all the same surgery in a different country. They will begin by making a zig zag incision from ear to ear. They do this for hair growth to remain as normal as possible, as it will never grow again on the scar. Thus they are going to shave off all that beautiful red baby hair 🙁 Here’s where it gets graphic. {MOM STOP READING.} They will peel his entire scalp back to his eyebrows and neck. Now you see the need for the plastic surgeon. They will then take every piece of the skull apart, and re-piece it back together like a mismatched puzzle. They do this to reshape the head since craniosynostosis creates head shapes that are long and narrow.Which later in life can lead to simple problems like never having a helmet fit, so no bike riding or sports. Because they do this in surgery there will be no need for him to wear a helmet in recovery, which is a big distinction from the Canadian surgery. Although it is more intense, so we will likely have a longer recovery.

We will spend a minimum of 4 days in the Hospital. They will also keep him sedated longer than the Canadian procedure. He will have a hard recovery. His face will swell and bruise. His eyes will be swollen shut for the first couple days. I thankfully have seen first hand pictures, so I know what we are heading into. It is perhaps why I am so calm right now. These days are nothing compared to what that week will be. And again I am aware that this is nothing in the long run compared to what some families are going through with younger babies and children. Much like the quote :”If we all threw our problems into a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” Its so true.

We are extremely lucky to have such a strong support system. Our family here has been very caring and we will be seeing both grandma’s in the next 2 weeks to give this little boy some love while we wait. Which will definitely help pass some time while waiting. And I truly appreciate all the loving messages, cards and tokens of Love. Tulips long distance from Canada, that brightened the day and reminded me of a man who always saw the sunshine in gloomy days. A care package still in route. And last weekend Sawyer received a special little surgeon bear from the family I used to work for. It came with a card from their little boy who was born the day after Sawyer. I cried through the simple well wished card that ended with “I am with you every step of the way Buddy, Love Jack” From those huge gestures to every little simple message that just said we’re here and we send love, Ive never experienced such a grateful emotion. I can’t describe how lucky I feel, that even though we will go through some crappy days ahead, he will be ok, and he is ever so loved. Thank you for loving our precious little life.

Again I will be updating this as we go through this process. So read along if you want to but dont feel obligated! I just like to share my life like an open book and this is going to be one hell of a chapter.

23 thoughts on “A Neurosurgeon”

  1. Sawyer is so lucky to have such a wonderful and loving Mommy and Daddy, Alissa. Sending our love from my family to yours.

    Love your childhood BFF,
    Justine in Canada

  2. I am SOOOO proud of you Alissa…..you are so strong and so knowledgeable about everything you are going through…Sawyer is such a lucky little boy to have a mom like you! Hard for me to believe how much has changed – you never used to be able to ask for ketchup by yourself – and now you live in Las Vegas, you are married and you have a baby of your own….wow! I feel very confident Sawyer will be ok…and this will be an experience you will draw on – to help others in the future. Take care of each other…..xoxoxoxox

  3. Hey Alissa,
    It’s Kelly, Jessica’s friend. Just wanted to let you know if you have any further questions from the post-op perspective/recovery/hospital stay, please feel free to email me. I care for babies that have this surgery quite frequently and am here if you have any question. And always remember, no question is every silly or stupid! The only questions that are silly or stupid are those not asked!
    Take care!

  4. I don’t know your family personally, but I wanted you to know that you are in our prayers. What an amazing mom and dad you are. Sawyer is lucky to have such a loving family… I can tell by your words that he is the centre of your soul! Many blessings to you and yours! Good luck little buddy! “if God takes you to it, he will take you through it”

  5. Hey Sweetie, Just read your blog at work………yeah, that was a bad idea. Leaky face as Kimmy would say.

    I just hope your wishes……” I mean McDreamy and McSteamy would be doing this particular surgery. If only that were true!}” dont come true. I hope you have very good surgeons and not just good actors taking care of my little buddy.

    I thought raising my two little girls was tough, but this being so far away is way harder.
    Luv U lots,

  6. Alissa,
    Everything you wrote on here is so beautiful. You are being so much stronger then I could ever imagine to be. Sawyer is the sweetest little baby in the world, and I love him so much. I’m here for you all every step of the way. I love you all.

  7. Well I am not used to getting comments on the blog! I was so surprised when I logged in tonight. How touched I am by each of the comments on here cannot be described. Thank you to all of you for continued support. I am strong through you. I appreciate it all.

    Thanks Kelly for the piece of mind offer. I am sure to take you up on it at some point in the coming weeks!

  8. I love you all, more then any words can ever express, his beautiful little face lights up my world. If only my arms would reach across the distance, you’ll have to settle for my heart, you’ve had that since the day you were born. I knew you’d be a wonderful mother, but your strength is so incredible, i have never been more proud of you <3 See you soon <3

  9. Alissa!!! You are so so brave!! I don’t know anyone who would be as strong as you! He is so lucky to have awesome parents!! We all love you and are praying for you! Good luck!!!!!

  10. Alissa, I think you and Brandon are doing a wonderful job! I’m so impressed by all your knowledge, it sounds like Sawyer is in great hands. Nothing but wonderful things will happen to that sweet baby, looking forward to seeing him and loving him next week. We are always here for anything you need.

  11. I had my hair done with your mom yesterday. I am so sorry to hear everything that is going on.
    What a beautiful little boy, my thoughts and prayers are with you all. I know you will be very glad when this is all done. It sounds like the procedure is better in the USA, I think the doctors are treatments are more advanced in the USA. Take care.

  12. Hi Alissa:
    I am a friend of your Mom’s and am following your blog! Just wanted to tell you that I am sending good thoughts your way and wishing Sawyer every success. Your writing is beautiful, you have a gift! Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers…. Hugs <3

  13. Hi Alissa:
    I am a friend of your Dad’s and as proud Dad he sent me your blog awhile ago. I absolutely love following it! You truly are amazing at what you do! From the crafts to the baking and especially being a Mom. Sawyer is truly blessed to have you as his Mom and because of who you are and what a stonger woman you are, I know that things will turn out perfectly! It is absolutely the hardest thing in the world when your child is sick, and you almost wonder how our parents got through rough times with us. Now that teh shoe is on the other foot, it definately make sus appreciate our parents even more.
    I wanted to let you know that you have personally inspired me. Becasue of your blog, the things you write about and do, I inspire to become more like you! You are incredible and that is why I know that although this seems tough, and possibly the absolute worst thing to even happen, because of who you are, I hope you know that you guys will get through this with flying colors! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, dreams, worries, and most of all your feelings. If only more of us could be open like you.
    Lastly I wanted to say that although we have never met, I feel like I do know you and your entire family. Your dad speaks very highly of you all and he is very proud of you, as he should be.
    Take care and please keep us all posted on your little man Sawyer.
    My prayers are with you and all your family!
    Take Care

  14. Hi, I am a friend of your mom’s and want you to know that I have been thinking about you and your little fella lots and I am send lots of positive vibes and love your way. I have a very positive feeling about all of this and even tho’ I have never met you, I am very proud of how strong and positive U are remaining through all of this.

  15. Thank you everyone for the very kind words! I have to say again I am not used to getting comments on my blog so its amazing to see so many new ones each day! I am strong because we have such an amazing support system. I thought this little boy was loved when he was healthy but you truly see it when something like this happens. I am so touched each of you took the time to write us. Thank you so much.

  16. Hi Alissa! I am your Dad’s cousin, Brenda (Pauline’s sister) from Winnipeg (my husband James & I stayed at your parents house 6 years ago when you were still living at home!). We just wanted to let you know we’re thinking of you and how we admire your enduring strength, having to deal with this situation. We can’t imagine how difficult this is to accept, but by all accounts, Sawyer appears to be in very capable medical hands and is exceptionally lucky to have such loving parents and extended family and friends. We will continue to read your updates as he nears his surgery date, and progress post-surgery. All Our Love, Brenda & James Plohman

  17. A and B and S:

    Thoughts and prayers being sent from Calgary. If the doctors working with Sawyer are as talented as the Mom who puts this blog together, then the little guy has nothing to fear. If the little guy isn’t fearful, then his parents, too, will be fine. Will be keeping all three of you close in my thoughts through a wild ride on the roller coaster of life.

  18. Dear Alissa, Brandon and sweet baby Sawyer,

    I can’t imagine the stressful roller coaster that your family is on right now. Please know that I will be thinking positive thoughts as you travel this journey with your precious son. You are an amazing Mom to be able to stayed focused and write this blog to keep everyone informed.
    Big HUGS to all of you.

  19. Hi Alissa – I know your Mom – have been going to Stylemaker’s “forever”. We had a “moment” yesterday when I was in the shop – she told me the story of little Sawyer! Well, the first thing I did was give her a big hug and then just listened to the story. I am a new first time Grandma so of course this story touched me. You have a wonderful Mom and family – I’m so glad she will be with you next week.
    Obviously the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – you are an amazing woman like your Mom.
    Please know that “positive thoughts and vibes” are being sent to you and your family. I look forward to following your blog and hearing about Sawyer’s speedy recovery!
    Diana Matthews

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