Monday, May 03, 2010

Neurosurgeon follow-up

Last Tuesday was a busy day for Avery and me! In the morning we both had dentist appointments - Avery's first real one! She sat happily in the little hand-shaped chair while I had my teeth checked and cleaned, and then it was her turn. She screamed and clung to e and wouldn't let go... We coaxed and bribed, but nothing worked! The closest she got was letting the hygienist put the little mirror in her mouth for about half a second. But she still got to pick out a new toothbrush and toothpaste if she promised to let the lady look at her teeth properly next time! She even got a sticker, which she really didn't deserve!! Lucky little thing! But she didn't get a toy, and she didn't get a chocolate milkshake on the way home...
In the afternoon the two of us travelled up to Charlottesville for an MRI and a follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon. We got to the imaging place half an hour early, but were still half an hour late for the neuro appointment! We met a cute little 9 month old baby boy in the imaging waiting room who was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when he was 2 months old. Very cute and very happy little boy! His mother was very nice - still seemed a little shell-shocked. It took me back in time a little bit.
This time they wouldn't let me go in the MRI machine with Avery. They do a fast scan MRI which takes less than 5 minutes, but Avery hates going into the thing, and it's so loud I really don't blame her. Last time she still screamed the whole time even though I was with her. One of the technicians said she would go in with her, but she still screamed and screamed and held onto me so tight when I tried to lay her down. They had to pry her hands off me, and I thought she would never forgive me. She was wearing headphones so I could talk to her while they did the scan, but it didn't help. She still just screamed the whole time. I felt so bad. But even though she screamed, she still lay nice and still and they were able to get all the images they needed in less than 5 minutes. I went straight back into the room when it was over, and as soon as she was out she calmed down immediately. She was so cute! Her voice was all shaky from the crying and shouting, but as soon as I was holding her she was excited and saying "Hey!! You know what??! Now I can get a sticker because I did such a great job!!!!" It was so sweet and sad!
By the time we got to the neurosurgeon's office it was 4:30, and the lady at the desk had just finished closing everything up and locking everything away for the night. So she wasn't too pleased, but it wasn't our fault and she knew that :) So we didn't have to wait there long at all! Dr Jane said that at first glance he had thought that Avery's ventricles were smaller even than 3 weeks ago when we were there, but upon closer inspection he didn't think they actually were. He head circumference is still just under 50th percentile (oh how I despise her old neurosurgeon for letting her go from way above 95th percentile at birth to below 50th without even considering the fact that she might be overdraining!!), and that it was possible that she might benefit from having the shunt setting dialed up to it's next setting (it's highest possible setting of 2.5), but that since she didn't seem to be having any problems with headaches or dizziness or anything like that, he didn't want to mess with it right now. We're going to do another review in 6 months, but I certainly feel a lot better about leaving the country for a month knowing that everything is okay and that her shunt is doing what it should.
I asked for some print outs of the MRI, and he emailed me 4 comparable images from 4 different MRIs over the past 3 years. Right then and there. It was nice. Most of the time when I ask for printouts, people act as though it's some big to-do that they have to go completely out of their way to accomplish. So here are the pictures. For those of you who may not be familiar with these sorts of images, the gray is the brain tissue, and the white is the fluid in the ventricles. The distortion is from the shunt valve.


March 7th 2007


July 19th 2009


April 3rd 2010


April 27th 2010

After we were all done with appointments, Avery made our way back home, and discovered that Charlottesville isn't too fun to escape from at 5:15pm. But we made it out eventually, and then we stopped for dinner in Waynesboro, which was actually a lot of fun. Avery ate mostly bread of course, but she enjoyed coming up to the buffet with me to pick out the food. She also got chocolate pudding as a treat for being such a good girl all day, and she was a very happy little girl :)

Once we finally left the restaurant, it was a really beautiful evening to be driving through Virginia, and we got to really appreciate the beauty of the place as the sun began to set. Avery really loved the colourful sunset, and wanted to tell Daddy all about it when we got home :)

16 comments:

Allison said...

Jo...you really are an amazing mother you know that!?!?!? I'm so proud of you and how you handle all of lifes complications. Avary is such a beautiful little lady now. I'm so glad she's doing so well. I hope yall have a blast when you leave town. Please post when you're heading over and I will bathe the trip in prayer for you guys. :)

Kristen said...

Wow oh wow, what a significant change in these scans! That is so good to see.

Safe and enjoyable travels for you all!

Michelle said...

Great News! The week or so after a scan is always wonderful - that blessed feeling of knowing the shunt is working.

Sarah said...

What good looking scans her most recent are! So glad her shunt is doing well!

Eveymartine said...

What a brave, adorable little girl! I know very little about such things but the pictures look good! I'm glad everything is going well and I can't wait to see you all.
xxx

Marie G said...

It is so good that Avery can so quickly put these bad experiences behind and enjoy the rest of the time. I can't imagine what it does for you though. We musn't get excited......

Valerie B said...

Considering all that Avery has gone through without complaint it's really surprising that she was so uncooperative at the dentist - perhaps just an invasion too far? The scan pictures are so encouraging, we live in amazing times. I am too excited for words, this time next week is the day you start your journey here.

Tony F said...

Is it really that close? Wow, time seems to fly - but not when you're in for a MRI or dental inspection obviously!

Annie D said...

You're amazing Josephine. So is that sweet little girl! I love her!! I am glad that things are looking good! :)

Eddie J said...

Thanks for the good news. I'm sure things will continue to look up for you guys!

Paul B said...

Whence comes her fear of the MRI machine?

Josephine said...

Well, it's very loud and they put a cage over her head and she goes into a little tunnel.

Annie D said...

I had an MRI done about 4 years ago...very scary...I could have screamed!!

Paul B said...

Claustrophobic, then? I hope I never have to do that.

Eddie J said...

CAT scans are a real pain to sit through. You feel like the little whirring, roating scanner lens/matrix is just a centimeter from your face. Like being in a really big microwave oven or something. lol

Pam B said...

I had an MRI scan last year and it was fine.Fear must go as we get older. The worst part was having to hold my breath for 30odd seconds. That was hard.I was dreading a forthcoming endoscopy but apparently they plan to put me out! I had one before but apparently this one is going much further. Isn't modern medical discoveries great. We get to live much longer and healthier.