Hi all,

Most of your immediate thoughts will be on seeing this blog would be ‘How am I doing?’ – well the fact that I’m up and able to blog is in itself a good indication that my surgery went well today, in fact, it went extremely well. Yes, I know it is very late at night, but I felt the absolute urge to let my fans know how I was doing.

But before I begin, my Mommy, my Daddy and I must thank every one of you for your wonderful and constant support. Just to give you an idea of the unprecedented amount of support you provide, I asked Mom and Dad to roughly tally up the messages and channels they received:

  • Emails: in excess of 20
  • SMS’s: in excess of 40
  • Blog comments: 5
  • BlackBerry IM’s: 7
  • Facebook comments, postings and wall scribblings: stopped counting after 40
  • Twitter Tweets: stopped counting after 30
  • Faxes: one from Opa
  • Telephone calls: 4 from family that were answered; those not from family Mom and Dad cannot always take, as calls are not permitted in ICU, and during surgery, Mom and Dad don’t take calls to leave the lines open so that the theatre can contact them, in the event of an emergency or an update

Some of the more memorable messages were offers from people on Twitter, living near Unitas, for Mom and Dad to go to their homes for a hot meal and a place to rest, and these offers were from people Mom and Dad have never even met face-to-face, only via social networks. People are absolutely wonderful! An absolute stranger that Dad chatted to on the phone for a completely unrelated matter offered Mom some salon hampering upon hearing the news. At the coffee shop at Unitas, Dad went and got some ‘supplies’ in the form of chocolates, cool drinks and two take-away lattes. Upon ringing up the purchase, the cashier forgot to include the cost of the lattes; Dad apparently took out some cash to cover the additional items, at which point the cashier simply said ‘It’s on the house’, or the Schwabish equivalent which is ‘lass dien geld dren’. So everyone and everything was simply going our way, and it didn’t stop at the success of my surgery.

All in all, you have all been absolutely wonderful, and the support, prayers, wishes, energy, angels, guardians, white light, etc. that all of you dispatched my way certainly hit the mark!

Ok, so here’s how my day went.

Needless to say we left very early in the morning to arrive at Unitas in time for the scheduled surgery. With the fantastic freeway improvements, the trip to Centurion was uneventful and smooth (literally, as the road surface is so even in some parts that it felt like we were gliding on air). I watched Barney on my DVD player for the entire route, and only moaned a couple of times about the fact that I was starving. As I was going under general anaesthetic I wasn’t allowed to eat anything for up to eight hours prior to surgery.

At Unitas the parent and baby parking bays were proudly empty and waiting for us, making our arrival easier. Admission was simple and quick – Dad had done all the pre-admission effort prior to our arrival, so it simply meant Daddy having to sign a form. At the ward, my observations were done, and I was put into a hospital gown and shorts. The shorts were enormous, and the first time I stood up they fell to my ankles. I didn’t need the shorts though, as the gown almost reached the ground when I was standing. This created great amusement for me, Mom and Dad.

All too soon it was time to go to theatre. As I am older than at my previous procedures, I am much more aware of my environment and circumstances, and as a result I did start getting stressed and uneasy at the prospect of having to go into surgery. Mommy carried me all the way to the theatre, and at theatre reception we had a little reunion with my surgical team. There I showed off my walking skills as I stormed up and down the halls leading to the various operating rooms. When it was time to go into theatre, and Mom had donned her theatre gown, head and shoe coverings, I decided to grab Dad and drag him back to the passage – this is how scared I was. Daddy and Mommy tried soothing me, but the closer it started getting to the time for surgery, the more anxious I became, and the more I made it known that I wanted to leave, by trying to drag Dad back to the ward.

Eventually Mom scooped me up in her arms, Dad gave me masses of hugs and kisses, and off to theatre I went. As is custom with Mom and I, she holds me while the anaesthetic is administered. I protested to no avail. I didn’t want the surgery and the anaesthetic, but I relented as the chemicals started taking effect.

For the next 3½ hours the surgery continued, for a shorter period than I am used to. Upon being discharged from theatre, with Mommy sitting on the bed holding me, I spotted Dad returning from talking to Prof Fourie. I waved and said hi! This melted everyone’s heart, and we all immediately knew I was fine.

Heading into the passage was a wonderful surprise – Jenni-Lynne had arrived during surgery to keep Mom and Dad company and she was there too to welcome me back and offer support. Lisle had apparently also planned to be there with Jenni-Lynne, but unfortunately work got in her way. There’s that four letter word again, that seems to interfere so much in my life at the moment with those I love!

Anyway, heading back to the ward the surgically team recited the success of the surgery to me, my Mommy and Daddy. They were like little excited kids as they spoke, they were so thrilled with the results. Simply put, after almost two hours of careful navigation and manoeuvring, Prof Fourie reached the back part of my head where the offending feeders were. As per previous occasions, he obtained access via the femoral artery at my groin, and carefully guided the catheters past my heart, lungs, up the jugular area into the front part of my brain. From there he guided the catheters over the top of my brain and down the back to where he needed to work. Once there, he deployed blobs of sterile super glue, and thereby managed to close two massive feeders, which have probably been the biggest that concerned my medical team the most.

In Prof Fourie’s words, this surgery was the equivalent to my crossing the Rubicon; I’m now at a point where I’m over the worst and most dangerous pre-existing feeders in my head. The first question that pops to mind is ‘will this be the last procedure’, to which the answer is ‘no’. There will be others, as there are still smaller feeders that need to be addressed. Fortunately these feeders are currently not as great a concern as were the two massive fistulas that have just be closed. As I grow in size, so too may the feeders, and then they too will have to be addressed. Since this is a condition that I have, and not an illness par say, I will not be ‘cured’ as it were. This condition will stay with me forever, and I may or may not have to, at regular intervals, continue having these procedures. My Dad, ever the optimist, also has a view that as technology improves, I might, in a decade or two from now, undergo some type of procedure with yet undiscovered technology that may completely settle my condition; but for that we must wait and be patient.

Despite the huge success of the surgery, it had its challenges and issues. The first of these was that Prof Fourie would have like to obtain access via my right femoral artery. After a number of attempts in theatre, this failed, and the left artery was used. The reason for the right artery failing was that it had already been used so often that the artery has begun to deteriorate. You will also recall that in September 2008 I had a sheath in that artery for almost a week, which could have resulted in my leg being lost. On the up side, the artery will being to rejuvenate, but only after a period of time. Subsequently no more access via the right hand side for quite some time.

The reason for wanting to access the right hand side was to save the left for future procedures, and it may also have been easier via the right hand side. It will now have to be determined, if I need a procedure soon again, if the left artery will hold up.

So back in ICU later on, there was great focus on my left leg where the sheath was. Basically this sheath is a really thick long hollow needle that is inserted into and up the artery toward the body, causing lots of pain and discomfort. Also, being in an artery, there are the risks of excessive bleeding – anyone who’s done a first aid course will know that severing the femoral arteries is big trouble, as the patient would ‘bleed out’ as its termed. So will everyone was focusing on my left leg, Dad noticed a river of blood coming from my right leg. The first access point had ruptured, owing to my howling (I was in major pain and discomfort, and I was thirsty and hungry, so its quite in my rights to howl). So, managed panic ensued as the bleeding was brought under control and the artery was sealed off.

One of the reasons why it is important to bring the bleeding under control quickly is that I am heparinized during surgery; this means that my blood is thinned dramatically. Subsequently, any bleeding after surgery will continue unabated as heparinized blood doesn’t clot.

This brings me to the next hectic part of the afternoon. After surgery, hourly, my blood is tested on the ACT scale. The ACT (Acute Clotting Time) scale determines if one’s blood would naturally clot or not. The preferred score is 160. So, a few hours after surgery the countdown began, and slowly but surely my ACT score dropped. Unfortunately, by mid afternoon I was running a fever, and my ACT score was increasing again. Lucky, my temperature stabilised, and at around 5 o’clock the sheath was removed, under duress from my side. I screamed, I howled, I fought at the pain and discomfort.

After that ordeal, and once I had settled, dinner arrived, and also Dad was back from a brief nap. I ate well and Mommy, Daddy and I visited together for the rest of the evening. It was then agreed that Dad would take the early night shift at my bedside, and Mom the morning shift from sometime after midnight. Once again, Mom and Dad had rented the Guest Suite on the fourth floor of the hotel where they setup base camp. There they had a bedroom, lounge and kitchenette and a bathroom with shower.

One of the tragedies that did occur during the afternoon was that my portable DVD player is somewhat broken. Mom and Dad are not too concerned, as it has served me well – its been to Cape Town and back, to the North Coast and back, gets used excessively at home, and often goes on trips with me. Although it is still functioning, the hinges that hold the screen to the player are broken, as a result only a bunch of wires keep the screen attached to the player body. When I now want to watch Barney, or one of my other many DVD’s, the screen needs to be strategically placed and balanced and not touched or moved. I guess Dad will be hauling out the duct tape back home and doing some rudimentary repairs to it.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight. Its time I got some rest now! Once again, thank you for all your wonderful messages of support and for all the prayers and deeds that you all did in support of me and my little family.

Lots of love, hugs and kisses.



Photo 1 It was pretty chilly at Unitas when we arrived

Photo 2 These were the enormous theatre shorts I was supposed to wear

Photo 3 Mom carries me to theatre

Photo 4 Walkies at the theatre

Photo 5 Mommy comforts me en route back to ICU after surgery as Dr Louw looks on

Photo 6 Mommy cuddles to make things better

Photo 7 Relaxing to some music

Photo 8 By evening my appetite had returned

Photo 9 Chosing my menu for the next day

Photo 10 Today’s success

5 Comments on I’ve Met My Nemesis

  1. Eddy Lederer says:

    Hey little brother. I am so glad to see your feeling better. I don’t have the pleasure of knowing you personally but you still mean a lot to me. You have been so amazingly trusting in mommy and daddy’s care and the doctors too… They are all so proud of you, little Jarrod. I am praying to The Lord, I call him Jesus, I’m for you to grow out of this, so you can be strong, play more and visit the hospital less. You are so strong now, God bless you little buddy!

    Mom and dad, I have no words to express my heart for yours, but trust in The Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding. Because understanding may not be all that’s has brought Jarrod this far. We are finite creatures but we can hope beyond the finite, especially when we see His eternal spirit and wisdom playing out before our eyes. I hope you have the comfort of seeing and knowing The Lord is in your midst.
    God bless you all

  2. Tom & Di Fincham says:

    Such wonderful news – you are an amazing lad with the most awesome parents. At mass yesterday we lit 6 candles for you, mom and dad. Mom and dad also need plenty of TLC. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    With best wishes to you all
    Tom & Di

  3. Lizette says:

    You are one brave little boy Jarrod xxx

  4. hi jarrod! you are such a brave little boy! you have gone through so much already.

    i think your mom and dad are brave too. what they go through is very difficult. i pray from them as much as i pray for you.

  5. Luschka says:

    Wow… what a stressful time that must be for you guys. I’m so happy the surgery went well, and I am also so pleased that you have had such amazing support from friends and family. It makes such a difference. Best of all God’s blessings to you all. Luschka (lvano on twitter!)

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