Monday, March 1, 2010

Update on Nicole...

Here are some pictures of Nicole in the hospital. Last Thursday, she was watching my boys. Andrew got home and after a few minutes, she started having chest pains. They got really intense and her sides were going numb, and she couldn't really breathe, so Andrew called 911. (I get all of this second hand, so if I'm wrong with anything, correct me, Nicole!) She was taken to the ER where she was for 6 hours and run through a battery of tests. On the last one, the CT scan, it showed she had a torn aorta. Not good. So, within an hour or so, she had emergency open heart surgery. Her body temp was cooled down, she was split open, and they were getting ready to stop her heart...which is where it really gets dangerous.

Pause for a moment, and let me tell you what I know about a torn aorta. Not much, but it's the main trunk through which your body gives blood to the arteries. Not good for this to be bleeding, in fact, every hour it bleeds your chance of survival decreases. On top of the 1 in 4 chance of dying during open heart surgery, is the 1 in 4 chance you'll die in the next 3 years after having a torn aorta. Serious stuff. Why would a 27 year old have this?

So, the doctors are in there and see that it's not a torn aorta. This is all before they stop her heart. But, it's really a gland, the thymus gland? This gland is normally above your heart, and is only used when you are developing and through your teen years, then it gets absorbed into fatty tissue. Well it had dropped down and was making a horse shoe shape surrounding her heart. And in fact, this is what had a tear in it, not her aorta. So her body had mimicked the torn aorta, thinking that's what it was. So they removed 75% of that and closed her back up.

I think it's a miracle. The doctor said that any cardiologist looking at the scan would say it was a torn aorta, but it wasn't. There are also several other little things that make me see God's hand in this, like the fact that it happened right after Andrew got home instead of while Nicole was alone with my boys.

Not to say that her recovery won't be long and hard, it will be. She is now out of the hospital, but unable to really do anything for herself. Her chest/ribs, are broken. I didn't really understand this until I saw her. I figured she would be recovering like I did after having babies. No. She can not use her hands at all to help her with things. Sit up? Nope, hold on to the railing? Nope. Open the fridge? Nope. Put a plate into the microwave? Nope. Cut up food? Nope. Pull up her pants? Nope. Not for 6-8 weeks. But then after that, it will be another 6 months before she can pick up the boys, or play with them really at all. And they are her joy!

So, pray for Nicole. It will be a long recovery journey. But I am so thankful that she is with us, and that it wasn't anything more serious then a gland. And also thankful for all the friends/family that helped my parents out so much. Thanks! She is going to live with my parents for a while so she can be taken care of. They have been amazing through all of this, but what a stress it will be. So there's a little update. I know she would really appreciate a word of encouragement, she kept asking me to read comments to her from facebook when she was in the hospital. So leave her a note and let her know you are thinking of her!


Anonymous said...

Get well soon Nicole! Thankfully you two were there to help her. Best wishes in this difficult recovery!

Diane said...

I'm praying for Nichole!!! If I had known it was Nichole in the hosp. the other day, I would have come by to see her and give her a hug. I did not want to intrude, since I did not know who was there.
Please let her know that we are thinking of her and praying for her and your family as well.
Sending big {{{hugs}}}!

Amy said...

We are praying for you Nicole, and for your whole family! Hope the recovery goes as smoothly as possible and so glad you are okay.