Zachary James

Zachary James

Monday, April 23, 2012

A God-Shaped Hole

Captain Happy right after tonight's expansion!!

I can hardly believe there are only a little over two weeks left in this round before we head back to Chicago to have Zac's two tissue expanders removed.  After our 3 night stay in the hospital battling an infection - the rest of our expansion has been relatively uneventful - the best kind of expansion you can ask for.  The front expander has been a total champ, with just under 700cc in it; the back expander, the biggest one - not so much - we are at 625cc. despite a good head start at the beginning.  For some reason, the back tissue expander had been tighter and less willing to soften up.

Typically, the stitches that exist where the tissue expanders are placed usually are not removed until the expanders themselves are removed.  On occasion, they become red and irritated which requires their removal but we've been lucky the past two rounds to never have had any issues.  Yep you have probably guessed what I am going to say next...until now....  

A couple of weeks ago Zac developed a spot on his back incision that looked a little...well, icky.  After using a fabulous lotion I found, it started to heal and scab over quite quickly which I was very excited about.  UNTIL, after sending pictures to Dr. Bauer's nurses one Friday they suggested that they were a little concerned about what was underneath the scab.  They asked if I could take the stitches out and...oh yeah, if I could just peel back the scab so that I could see what it was like underneath!!!  Uh, yeah...I got right on that...

I waited for the close of the weekend and put Zac in the tub, I continued to wet the scab until it came off.  To my surprise, as I hoped, it looked fine. :)   The next day, we proceeded with our expansion, taking care tread lightly with the back expander as to not cause damage to the stitching.  After filling the back expander, I took a look at the incision and noticed that the part that was scabbed over looked a little...icky again.  Think cigarette burn, about the same side and a little raw.  As I started to clip a few of the stitches, Zac became very uncomfortable, despite that area being numbed.  As I looked at the area again, I got a little bit freaked out.  Ok, I got a lot freaked out.  Not because it looked super-horrible, but because I could already envision the gaping hole I was sure it would turn out to be.

I mentally placed myself on an emergency plane back to Chicago in an attempt to get there before the whole darn thing fell out!!  And in this moment...I did what I almost always do when I freak out.  I called my nevus-mommy support group.  Merilee calmly talked me off the ledge and assured me that everything would be better tomorrow.  Zac was pretty uncomfortable that night as he had started to get in the past several weeks as his expanders have grown.  He woke several times and in the morning, I was still in a little bit of a frenzy.  I had another small breakdown as I emailed pictures to Dr. Bauer and his nurses the next morning from work and waited for his response.  It was after I heard from Dr. Bauer, who assured me that the scabbing looked superficial, that I realized that the one who had the hole was me and I needed to fill it with gratitude.

I am so absolutely thankful for so many things.  We have had a smooth expansion (thus far)and friends and loved ones who support us. We are blessed with doctors who truly understand Zac's skin disorder and are knowledgeable and educated on how to treat it (it may seem like a simple thing but such doctors are an extremely rare find).  We live in a wonderful community (Anthem) who is both caring and supportive and has reached out to us with the most amazing support.  We have the most loving church family anyone could ever possibly ask for.  Most of all, He has given us all of these blessings and more.  If you have a hole - try having an attitude of gratitude, it really puts things into perspective.  There is so much to be grateful for.


Last week's irritated stitches