We went back to Brenner today for Clara's one year surgical follow up. Started off with a chest x-ray. She was not quite as cooperative this time as she was six months ago.
The techs were super fast though and the good news is, once those x-rays were taken, we went to visit Dr. Turner for a follow up. (After a quick stop by the NICU to check in on our old favorites.... it's always so good for our soul to see the folks who loved and cared for Clara so well those first 78 days. We will be forever indebted to them! Their faces lit up at the sight of her waddling around and babbling to them with her ever-present grin. I think it was as good for their spirits as it was for ours.)
Just for fun, we did a little before/after look. Here is Clara's chest x-ray from 3/23/11.... all those abdominal organs are up in her chest where her left lung should be and her heart is pushed over in the space where her right lung should be. It's a garbled mess:
Here is Clara's chest x-ray from today:
Her left lung has totally filled the space in her ribcage (that's the one that was once described as nothing but a "nubbin'"). Dr. Turner said it looked complete, as full as a healthy child's lung would be. Can't express how it does our hearts good to hear phrases like, "those are beautiful lungs," "her x-ray was perfect," "it couldn't be any better," and "everything looks great." Her heart has shifted back to its correct location as well. Other than a teeny bit of scarring on her right lung from her pneumothorax (no problem or concern there though), her lungs look just fabulous. They sound good too, although we won't know much about their functional capacity for a few years. The good news is that she will continue to grow alveoli until she's about eight years old.
We didn't get a picture with Dr. Petty today, but he came to Clara's party on Saturday so here he is (left) with her then! Dr. Turner and Clara are on the right, today.
We will continue to have chest x-rays yearly until Clara is five or six and as long as there is no recurrence of the hernia (always a possibility since a patch was used to repair her hole), we will go to every 2-3 years at that point until she's done growing.
We didn't suspect any problems, but it's a great relief to have that confirmed in a film for us today and to hear the positive affirmation of how well Clara is doing from the folks who helped get us here.
She was pretty tuckered out after a big morning at Brenner. I snuggled her a little extra tight during her nap this afternoon. We're proud of you, Clara. Well done, baby girl.