Shunt and Ears

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Touching noses with the pig that the MRI team gave Cayman.

Cayman's MRI scan yesterday showed definite improvement in her ventricle sizes!

That was the most relieving news to hear!

The scan gave us tangible, reassuring results that her shunt is not failing.

There is still a significant pocket of fluid accumulated around the shunt. While the doctor does not like to see that, he feels confident to say that the shunt is working well. Likely, the build up of fluid around the shunt is due to something called back pressure.

I'll try my best to explain. It took me a couple of rounds before I finally got it.

It is a type of pressure than can resist the flow of fluid within the shunt. During the last shunt surgery (5.10.10), the programmable shunt which had been set on 1.5 for over a year, was replaced with a fixed shunt at that same setting. However, it seems that there is a difference of pressure within her blood vessel (VA shunt) versus her belly (VP shunt). The setting that regulated the flow perfectly while it was in her blood vessel might be too weak of a setting for it to drain the fluid properly in her abdomen.

Since the pressure on her brain looks healthy though and has even improved since last week's scan, the doctor wants to wait to take action just yet.

This back pressure will do one of two things:

1.) It may improve and eventually balance itself out. By waiting to see if this happens would spare Cayman of another shunt surgery.


2.) It may just remain as it is. Not getting worse. Not getting any better. In which case the doctor would then schedule Cayman for surgery to change the shunt's valve setting.

Overall, I am relieved about this.

Her shunt is not failing.

Her brain is not under pressure.

That takes a lot of worry off my mind.

I slept more peacefully last night. It was the reassurance I have been hoping to hear and I praise my Jesus for receiving it!

That might sound a little off the rocker since we are potentially looking at another shunt surgery but the difference as to why I am at ease about this all has to do with the level of seriousness. The back pressure would cause Cayman to be scheduled for surgery.

'Scheduled' is quite a different kind of stress than an emergency surgery over a failed shunt.

I can handle a scheduled surgery over a shunt that is not getting worse but should be working a little better.

That, that I can handle!

What I don't ever want to "handle" again is another shunt failure like the last one.


Checking out her ears with the toy otoscope.

Cayman also had her appointment with the Ears, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor yesterday.

We have been trying to get this appointment accomplished since April. It's been rescheduled for so many different reasons that kept coming up. It's also the appointment that we have been 'practicing' for with the toy otoscope at home.

At her last Audiologist appointment Cayman hated her ears being messed with. She had to be restrained and that brought her to tears of fear and frustration.

I hated seeing her like that.

So I bought her a toy doctor kit, specifically one with a otoscope in its collection.

And we played 'doctor'.

So on this appointment with the ENT, we took along that toy otoscope. I gave it to Cayman to hold while the doctor examed her ears.

She cooperated beautifully!

I wish you could have seen my smile. It stretched from ear to ear. It gave me such a good feeling to watch Cayman sit there unrestrained in that chair and calmly let the doctor look at her ears.

The toy otoscope idea was a success and my little Cayman braved what she once feared so greatly!

14 Showin' Comment Love:

Mary said...

Sounds like good news all around. Be glad that Caymans ears are big enough to see with out the microscope. Riley will sit like a champ but they can't see enough so they still end up pinning him down to clean the ears. Ity bity ears are cute but not so functional :-)

Joyce said...

Sounds like all great news. Happy you had a good nights sleep:) That always makes the momma feel better. Such a good idea to get the doctor kit.

Carey and Jon said...

woo-hoo! i love the little toy she is holding up to her ear. she is so smart! :) hope you are feeling well kris!

Tyler said...

That is so awesome that "playing doctor" at home helped Cayman through her appointment. I'm sure that made you feel really good.

Diane, Tyler's mom

Gabriella said...

What good news... and what a great idea about the doctor kit! I remember reading that here, but never went out to get it! Just wrote it on my to-get list!


Anonymous said...

So glad to hear her shunt seems stable from MRI.

Sara said...

Praise God that her ventricles are looking better!!


Lisa said...

All smiles :)

(about that Actor I wrote about: he plays the Michael Scott character on the British Version of 'The Office'. I know you are a huge office fan!)

Tiffany said...

Good news all around. I am glad you got some sleep too! Shelby's shunt did the same thing for a couple weeks and then the back pressure dissipated. I hope that happens for Cayman. Congrats on the pregnancy!

Tiffany said...

Yeah for good news!!!

Kristin said...

that's very good news about her shunt! I totally understand what you mean about "scheduled" vs "emergency" surgery!

We also got Abby a doctor kit (probably the same one) and it really helped with taking the fear out of some of her visits. She really likes the stethoscope and says "boom boom boom" on our hearts. Yesterday I was wearing a necklace with a round charm and all day she was playing with it and saying "boom boom boom." So cute!

Congrats on your pregnancy too! We're getting ready to try again soon.


Anonymous said...

Happy, happy!

Pretend doctor play is such a good idea!


The Soldatke family said...

Love the pictures! Especially the piggy! and hurray for good news and no emergency surgery!

David said...

5 days!!?!!!?

man, you weren't kidding about not being able to post regularly for a while...