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Bonnie has what they call an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is a weakening of the walls of the aorta in her abdomen.
The weakening of the walls cause the aorta to swell up or "balloon out" as they get weaker and weaker. This is a very dangerous condition in that if the walls of the aorta rupture, death is the likely result.
Her doctor has been carefully monitoring the growth in the size of the aneurysm, and has determined that surgery is now required in order to treat the aneurysm. Bonnie is going to be admitted at 10:30 AM on Tuesday June 21 for a preparatory procedure where they will install a spinal drain. She will stay in the hospital overnight, and the surgery is scheduled for 7:30 AM on June 21.
We are extremely fortunate to have one of the very best vascular surgeons (Dr. Jesse Manunga) in the country taking care of her at one of the top 2 facilities in the nation. She couldn't be in better hands anywhere!
Dr Manunga is going to perform what they call an endovascular (inside the vessel) repair of Bonnie's abdominal aorta with a large upside-down Y-shaped stent.
This stent has been custom made for Bonnie in Australia, and has 5 fenestrations (or holes) that allow blood flow to branch blood vessels such as the kidneys and liver. Each of these 5 branching blood vessels will also get a stent that ties into the main stent in the aorta.
The main stent will reach from several inches into the iliac arteries (the main arteries that lead to the legs) all the way up to the diaphragm just under the lungs.
Just a few short years ago, the surgery to repair this involved opening up the patient's abdomen and led to recovery times in the range of weeks to months.
But doctor Manunga has pioneered a better, safer, less invasive method that only requires 2 small incisions in the groin. This means typically a hospital stay of only a few days, and full recovery in 4 to 6 weeks. We are told to expect that she will remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days following the surgery while she recovers.
We are fortunate to live to see such medical marvels, and Bonnie is fortunate to be under the care of Dr Manunga. Not only is he a "Rock Star" as far as doctors go, he is absolutely one of the nicest people you will ever meet. We couldn't possibly have more faith or trust in him.
It's been a long couple of years watching and worrying about this thing. While there is inherent risk in performing any surgery, the greater risk now is to not perform the surgery. Even though the thought of surgery is scary, it will be good to get this behind us and have her all fixed up!
We will post updates here as soon as things happen so everybody can know right away, so please use this as your main source for finding out how Bonnie is doing!