Monday, October 27, 2014

Scars of Strength

     As November approaches, I can't help but think of the year that was 2013!  This was a year filled with what seemed like surgery after surgery, hospital stay after hospital stay; three in one year.  No matter how hard it seemed to me and for us, I am aware of the families we came across that were dealing with a little more than we were.  However, Kerstin was dealing with a great deal.  At times, I felt like she was dealing with more than any little girl should have to deal with.

     I've said it before, Kerstin's will and strength gives me the strength to go forth each day.  There are times that I have had absolutely no idea where the strength has come from to continue doing the things I do for her each day.  I know that if my sweet pea can smile through the things she's endured in her 12 years, I can keep fighting!  

     "Scars of Strength", came to mind when giving Kerstin a massage after a bath one day.  I was looking at the scars on both her feet, so long and almost around the entire foot, looking as if it was sown back on, with pins/screws to boot.   The bilateral triple arthodesis, was done because her feet had started to turn in  at the ankles and had gotten to the point that she could no longer wear her AFO's and the bone was starting to cause callouses on her feet.  We were even told that if her ankles continued turning, she would not be able to wear shoes.   Now, she is able to wear her AFO's and shoes, comfortably. 
Day of surgery 02/28/2013

     Then, there's the g-tube, an everyday reminder that there is an unnatural hole in her stomach.  Yet, this "scar" is there because she was no longer able to eat the way she had been most of her life.  It was unhealthy not to mention unsafe.  She aspirated, silently, during a swallow study at Children's Hospital.  
Kerstin's new belly button...

     Kerstin's biggest "scar" is over 17 inches long and directly down the middle of her back.  She endured over 7 hours of surgery to have a spinal fusion.  The incision is a few inches from her neck down to her tailbone.  Underneath the scar, rods and more screws to correct a 50 degree curve that had started to cause problems with her lower right lung. 

One month after spinal fusion. 

Before and after spinal fusion

Continuing to heal...

     Kerstin even has scars from central and PICC lines that had to be placed during her spinal fusion.  Still visible are scars on her neck and her left bicep area. 

PICC line scar

Central line scar...and scopolamine patch

     So, Kerstin's "Scars of Strength" are just that, signs that she is a tough little girl.  She has more strength than many.  I've looked at her, watching her in hospital beds, at times with so many tubes, lines, and wraps covering her little body and have wondered; "How much of this can one child endure?"  "How does she manage to smile when in so much pain?"  Faith!  Strength!  No one in her life telling her to give up!  No one with negative vibes surrounding her!  
     Her scars, are reminders for me.  Don't give up fighting.  Be strong and have strength...

More to come...

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