Thank you friends for your support in making this happen!
We are so pleased to be able to say that Janet’s had the first, and most complicated, of two surgeries and has come through remarkably well! As the anesthesia was wearing off she was very weak and groggy and couldn’t lift her head to look down.
She looked at Olivia and asked in a weak voice, ‘is it still there?‘ (meaning her prolapsed intestine). Olivia gently let her know that it was no longer there and all she has now is a small hole for the colostomy bag. After that Janet drifted back to sleep for a while. There was a scare the first night after her surgery when she became very sick and had to be rushed in for an emergency surgery.
There was some colostomy and gas leakage into the abdominal cavity due to all the movement and reconstruction of her intestinal tract. The surgeon had to go back in and drain the fluid build up and relieve the swelling. Janet has been recovering very well since.
The surgery was fairly complex reconstruction that: 1) closed an opening (fistula) between the anus and the vagina 2) opened up the anus which has been imperforated since birth 3) inserted the external intestine back into the abdominal cavity and attached it to the anus. If you’ve had about enough of this post already you can relax a bit because that’s the worst of it.
The rest is good news…she has been making a speedy recovery. The first day she was not allowed to eat or drink anything since she had so much internal work done and she needed a bit of time for her system to adjust. Then after a day she was allowed to start taking food and water.
Olivia reports that Janet was seriously annoyed with everyone involved for the day with nothing. At first Janet thought it was her mom’s idea to restrict her intake but then when Olivia arrived and colluded with her mom she was certain that everyone was out to get her!
Since then she has been eating and passing stool through a perfectly sealed colostomy bag for the first time in her life. She has regained her strength, she can walk and talk, and is now safe n’ sound at home! It would not be an overstatement to say that this operation is giving Janet a completely new kind of life. The life that she knew can be seen in these pictures:
She has never known what it is like to not soil herself (which could happen at any time of the day) and to not smell. And, due to living with such an unimaginable condition she was severely withdrawn, hardly ever spoke, and had no discernable joy or expression of any kind. We are just thrilled to be able to say that Janet is starting a new life and has already been full of beautiful smiles as she walks out of the hospital.
The next three months will allow for healing from the surgery and will be a time for Janet to do exercises to strengthen her, up till now, unused sphincter muscles. Then she will go back for the second surgery which attaches the upper and lower colony of the intestines, close the colostomy hole and then we see if she can pass stool through her newly formed anus.
Whatever the outcome of the final surgery we are so excited about how much better her life is the way things are now. She looks forward to being able to go to school and start enjoying her childhood. The mom and dad are ecstatic with gratitude. They along with their neighbours offered us chickens, rice and sugar to say, ‘thank you!’
We are also so grateful to all those who supported Janet’s operation, all of our ongoing supporters, and to the many in Uganda who played a part in making this story happen! We’re especially grateful to International Hospital Kampala and for Paul Hunter at New Generation Ministries for connecting us with Dr. Ben at IHK. Webale Nyo Sebo.