On 2021 March 19 Friday, Aria was diagnosed with the life-threatening medical condition of intussusception at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Intussusception is where the intestines intussuscept (in non-medical terms that means telescope) into one another.
In Aria’s case, her terminal ileum (small intestine) had intussuscepted (telescoped) into her ascending colon (large intestine) several centimeters, preventing chyme (digested food and digestive secretions) from passing through the area and compromising intestinal blood flow in the area. She had three air enema with fluoroscopy procedures to try to undo the intussusception. The first air enema procedure was somewhat successful, with some of her ileum being pushed back out of her ascending colon, but there was no result with the next two. She underwent laparoscopic surgery (three incision sites with a scope [camera] and instruments, as opposed to open abdominal surgery) where it was found that her cecum (a pouch that is the first portion of her large intestine) all the way to the first portion of her appendix, had started to get sucked into the intussusception, compromising her appendix tissue. The intussusception was undone with laparoscopic surgery and she had an appendectomy (appendix removal).
Aria is now recovering. Please pray that she recovers in full. About a week to two after surgery, she should be seemingly returning to her normal self, even though internal healing will take several months. Even a few weeks after surgery her intestines can intussuscept again, so she will be monitored with post-op medical visits, at home, and at school for signs and symptoms of the life-threatening condition.
If you ever suspect something is wrong with your child, take your child to a pediatric-specific hospital. It is better to be there and find out you can go home, than to be elsewhere and find out you need to be transferred to a pediatric-specific hospital or that surgery is so emergent that your child is now going to be operated on by surgeons who are not specifically pediatric surgeons. Had Aria’s condition not been caught when it was, she could have had a significantly more serious outcome, such as loss of her intestines (bowel resection), shock, sepsis, or death. I am sharing Aria's story and healing journey, so that more parents and people can be informed about the life-threatening condition and hopefully other children, like Aria, will have positive treatment outcomes. Intussusception can happen to anyone, but the pediatric and geriatric populations are most susceptible, especially infants.
Aria's healthcare team at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital was phenomenal and I will forever be grateful to the incredible care they provided to her during the entirety of the time she was there for her life-threatening medical emergency.