Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 14 Surgery Update

Hello to everyone. I wanted to pass along some details on Clay's most recent procedure. On Monday the 12th Clay spent nearly 10 hours in the operating room at Children's Hospital in Dallas. This was a scheduled procedure and had been planned for quite a while. We checked into the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and at 6:00 p.m. Clay had not come out of recovery. It was a long wait for Mom and Dad so I hope it went quickly for him. This will not be a short post because I will attempt to describe everything that was done while Clay was in the O.R. Clay's day started with a visit from a surgical dentist. It seems that being in a burn unit for four months plus copious amounts of antibiotics over the last three years have not been kind to Clay's baby teeth. He has the added problem of not being able to open his mouth wide enough to floss. The scar bands around his mouth will not allow it. The dentist extracted four baby teeth and capped 8 more to insure he can make it until the permanent arrive. All of this had to be done under anesthesia because the mouth had to be forced open for him to access the teeth. When he finished up our plastic surgeon took over. He placed two tissue expander's under the hair on Clays head between the skin and the skull. These will be injected with fluid to attempt to move Clays hair back far enough to cover the crown of his head. After this procedure was completed they made incisions over Clays ribs and harvested cartilage from two separate spots. They then took this harvested cartilage and started the process of building Clay a left ear. This cartilage was formed into an ear shape and placed under the skin or scalp in position to create an ear. It will be left under the skin until it has healed and grown over, at that point they will go in and separate from the skull and hopefully there will be the start of a new left ear. One interesting part of the surgery was the fact that they harvested more good tissue than they needed for this ear so they , "banked" some cartilage for later use lower down on his head. When the ear was completed they went to work on his face. Dr. Trussler opened up both side of his mouth and attempted to work around his chin and nose doing releases and shaping in both places. They also worked on Clay's right eye which was starting to pull down a bit from contracting burn scars. If you think all that I mentioned was enough you are wrong. When Dr. Trussler finished up the plastics hand specialist went to work on Clay's left hand. The burn scars and amputations on Clay's left hand were pulling down and preventing Clay's hand from growing. The palm of this hand was much smaller than his right. Initially they had planned to open up his left palm and pocket or sew it on to a patch of good skin on his abdomen. His had would have been attached to his stomach for a minimum of three weeks. We were worried about this because three weeks can be a long time for an adult and an eternity when you are eight. When they started the hand procedure they decided that Clay did not have enough unburned skin on his stomach to attach the hand to and they opted to take a full thickness skin graft from his left thigh and rebuilt his palm with it. They also put pins in his thumb and middle finger to help straighted and spread these two digits hoping to give him more range and a wider griping area. This hand was then placed in a cast and all surgeons wrapped it up for the day. After being under anesthesia for approximately eight hours our surgeon elected to place Clay in the Intensive Care Unit overnight. He said that due to the length of time and the many different procedures he wanted to use extra caution with Clay after surgery. Mom and Dad are allowed to stay in ICU and we did on Monday night. Clay was moved Tuesday morning to a room on the plastic surgery floor for an additional day of care and observation. He was released today a little before noon and he is making his way to South Texas to spend the rest of his spring break recovering at his grandparents home with his brothers, and cousins on spring break. Mom is going too just in case she is needed. There have been many people praying for Clay before, during and after this surgery, we would like to say thank you because your thoughts, kindnesses, and prayers are always needed and appreciated by the Fites.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brief Update February 14, 2012

Hello to all. Little did we know, three years later, we would still be posting surgery & progress updates on Clay. I know we have been negligent in posting but the Fites have been extremely busy as of late. On Sunday January 29th we had plans to attend meeting in Ft. Worth and then go to the afternoon performance of the Ft. Worth Rodeo. Best laid plans do not always work out. When we awoke Sunday morning Deidra commented that Clay had a blood blister on the side of his head. He had an area the doctor was concerned about and that we had been keeping an eye on. I asked to see his head and quickly decided he did not have a blood blister but determined the skin had split open on the side of his head and what we could see was exposed tissue expander. We called the doctor and he instructed us to come to Children's in Dallas ASAP. We shuffled everything around and checked Clay in. On Monday afternoon they did surgery to remove the expander and advance the hair back on his scalp. He came through with flying colors and was able to head home on Tuesday with a drain tube placed under his scalp. Junior steers went into Ft. Worth on Tuesday and we would not have been able to get Carson and Cody's steers there without a lot of help. All seems to be going well now and Clay is back in school and doing fine. You can see in the previous post the expander before the surgery. The morning after the procedure Clay asked to see a mirror. I gave him one to look into. He said he did not like the way his head looked because it was too flat. We thought it looked great and the doctor did a wonderful job with the hair. I am sure Deidra will post more with more details when she has a moment but we are preparing for special meetings and have had some welcome company. I thought I would post this before time and the procedure escaped me. Take Care.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January 4, 2012 Happy New Year!

Larisa and Clay

Here is a picture of the PA cleaning the tissue expander

port before inserting saline into expander. As you can see,

the skin is expanding and the doctor can then surgically stretch Clay's

hair further back on top of his head.

Did you begin to think that we were not going to post on Clay's blog again? We haven't forgotten, just haven't taken the time to update for about 3 months!! I began to think that I might need to tie myself to my computer chair so that I could sit down long enough to post an update. Of course, it's always hard to remember all that has happened (during the past 3 months) when I procrastinate like this.

Hmmmm?? Where to begin? Last year (2011) seemed to fly by faster than the year before. It's hard to believe that it has been almost 3 years (Feb 14, 2009) since Clay's accident. Three years ago, we were wondering if we would/could ever survive such a tragedy. Here we are in 2012, and Clay is thriving - thanks to God!

Chance posted our last update on October, 14th. I'll give a few highlights of the past months. This past October, Clay had the privilege of meeting Larisa Hertz at one of our church conventions. Larisa was burned in an accident in the Fall of 2009. She & her family have become very special to us; as, she can empathize with Clay and vise versa.

* Carson turned 13! We now have a teenager in the house and a son who is now taller than me (mom). If he grows into his long feet, he'll soon be taller than dad.

* We were asked and invited by The Transplant Services Center of UTSW Medical Center to attend "A Celebration of Thanksgiving For the Gift of Transplantation Medicine". Clay was recognized as a "skin donor recipient" (during Clay's first few weeks in the Burn ICU, his burns were covered with cadaver skin until the doctors could graft his own skin over the burns). It was very touching as the families of the donors were recognized. We had an interview with channel 4 (Dallas); then, Chance & Clay said a few brief words of thanks onstage. We had a pleasant surprise in that we had the opportunity to meet LTC (Ret) Brian Birdwell who is also a Texas State Senator. He is a burn survivor; as, he was in the Pentagon on Sept.11 during the attacks. His book, Refined by Fire, is a soldier's story of 9-11. He also has "Face the Fire Ministry" in Granbury, Texas. We also had the opportunity to meet his wife and brother(a Tarrant County Judge). Very special!

* We spent the Thanksgiving holidays on the Texas coast at Pappy & G'ma's.

* We were also invited to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. Katie Crosbie, from Channel 3-Wichita Falls, invited us to attend and gave us tickets. Clay was taken on stage at the end of the concert, took a bow with the band, and was given an electric guitar signed by the band. The boys also received T-shirts and CD's. That was an exciting evening for the boys!


* Busy month with the holidays, etc.

* Most of Chance's family lives within an hour from us. We spent Christmas eve/day with his family. We didn't have to travel far. We made a couple trips to Dallas for Clay's tissue expansion. My older sister and her family spent New Year's eve/day with us.

January: Here we go....into a new year.

* Our county stock show will be held in two weeks; and then off to the major shows. Cody has been looking forward to showing again this year.

We had an appointment in Dallas yesterday. Clay's doctor put another dose of saline in his expander (we have been driving to Dallas every two weeks for this). We discussed Clay's next surgery & have another appt. in two weeks. His next surgery may entail: 1. moving expanded hair further back on his head 2. taking rib cartilage to reconstruct his ears 3. more work on left hand. We will discuss a surgery date at his next appointment.

Life is precious and Clay's positive disposition inspires us! Happy New Year to all!

~The Fite Family (Chance, Deidra, Carson, Cody & Clay)