Saturday, August 2, 2014

Day 1760 - Pectus Excavatum - An update

Finally she's feeling some sort of normal 


As you know, back in May our Tahlia had a Nuss Bar put into her chest to rectify her Pectus Excavatum (collapsed sternum).  It was a hell of a road to recovery.  You can read about it here and here. We knew it would be, but nothing really prepared us for the pain, the discomfort, the psychological and physical changes this surgery would have on our beautiful girl.  To be honest there were points where we never thought she'd find "normal" again.  But then she did.
  
We are able to start writing about this again because she has come out the other end of the tunnel.  There were days we thought it may not happen. But here we are. She is living again. 

In total Tahlia had six weeks off school and then she spent another four weeks with an integrated return doing half days*.  We are now almost 14 weeks post surgery and she's still not able to carry her school backpack laden with books and laptop, but she can take a smaller version.

At around the eight week mark she finally came off her painkillers.  

At the ten week mark she started seeing a psychologist to help her come to terms with what she had gone through. 

At ten weeks she started modelling again.  Her decision. Modelling clothes that she would never have modelled before. Clothes that show the positive effects of her surgery. Absolutely no sign of a collapsed sternum. 

Tahlia modelling for Tressle clothing store

At week ten she also started going on outings with her friends. 

At twelve weeks she made the decision she no longer needed psychological help.  She was feeling good about herself.  So much so that she met with a personal trainer to start mapping out an exercise plan. She also spent the day filming with the Cheer Chicks - although admittedly she was on the photographer side of the camera.  She climbed a hill that day (in more ways than one). 

Just this week she woke up to find she was laying on her side without pain - a HUGE achievement. 

She's taking control of her school work, pushing for more modelling gigs and asking to go out.  

She is smiling and laughing and there is a sparkle in her eyes.

Our teenage daughter is back.

There is still a hell of a lot that she can't do.  No more cheerleading, contact sport, roller coasters, trampoline. It still hurts to run on a hard surface.  But this is all just part of her new normal.  It's not disabling her ... just changing her options for the next few years.  She'll be able to get back into all that when the bar is removed. 

She can still feel the bar. Sometimes it moves and scrapes inside her.  But she's getting used to it.

Oh, and the surgery scars are healing nicely.  The surgeon cut around the shape of her breast to blend them into the normal breast line.  Relief.

If you or anyone you know has pectus excavatum and would like to chat about it, feel free to email me at leanne (at) leanne shea langdown (dot) com.  Tahlia is more than happy to share her story and help those who may be experiencing a similar journey.  

If you have yet to seek medical advice, then start with your GP.  They can then refer you to a cardiothoracic surgeon. Tahlia's surgeon is Dr Bayfield, Sydney Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Medical Centre in Newtown (Sydney), Australia.  


*Tahlia's school has been absolutely wonderful during this entire process. They have been accommodating, sympathetic, kind and nurturing, as have her friends and school mates. We couldn't have asked for more. 

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