We have just over three weeks to go in this potential last round of expansion. Potential is the key word here. When we started out this round, Dr. Bauer placed three exapnders to "give [me] the best chance at full removal" in this round. And for the most part, this has been an uneventful and successful round so far. We have not missed a fill to date. We are extremely close to the fill goals. But whether we make it is still questionable.
Last week, I began to develop another bruise on my right back expander. If you don't recall, I developed a bruise on my right back expander about half way through the last round. It wasn't the worst complication we could have had, but it did get bad enough that we had to stop fills on that side. We made it to 505cc by the end. These bruises are caused by the pressure the expander is placing on the tissue, and can damage it badly enough to result in tissue and skin loss. So mom and dad have been watching all of my expanders with keen eyes to stay on top of any potential problems. So far, the bruise I have developed this time is faint, and hasn't changed since they first noticed it several days ago. Dr. Bauer is allowing us to continue the fills in that expander, but we do have to take it down a notch when we do so.
Today, we completed my 8th fill of this round, and we hit a milestone... my 350cc leg expander is now filled with 350cc of saline! We did it! Out of the 7 expanders I have had so far, this is the first that has made it's goal. And we won't stop there -- Dr. Bauer says to keep it going with the last few fills we do, so it will actually surpass our expectations. I have to say, this is a really strange expander to work with. My leg is so tiny, and the expander is so big now. Mom and dad even had to go out and buy me new pajamas today because my other ones (which were already a size big) can't fit over my leg bubble! But we do this with one achievement in mind, and we can't wait to see what success is reached in my next surgery. It will all be worth it; we know this for sure.
As for my back expanders, I already mentioned that we have to take it easy on the right, so dad only put in 40cc today. The left back is getting difficult to fill, and he had to stop at 45. We have a feeling the next few fills will be minimal, and that getting to the goal of 750cc in the back expanders is going to be tough. They are now at 575 (left) and 630 (right).
All in all, we are very close, and truly happy with the way this round has gone so far. Dr. Bauer may recommend that we start doing fills more than once a week at this point to make sure we get the expanders as full as possible. We really need each of the last three fills, at a minimum, to give me the best chance at completing removal of my nevus with surgery #6. Please help us pray that I don't get sick between now and surgery so that we don't miss any of my injections, and that we meet the goals of 750cc in my back expanders.
That said, we are prepared for the possibility that God may have another plan laid out for us, and that we just won't be able to achieve full removal with this round. There is no way to know until the surgery happens. But we are going to give it our all until then. And if I need another round of expansion, so be it. We know that He is watching over me, and Dr. Bauer, and we accept this journey for what it is. But we still pray for success and good health and that I remain infection-free, and are grateful for these such gifts that He has given us thus far.