This is Ben right after his fundoplication surgery. 

You can see the incision made just above his g-tube. 

  In the Summer of 2003, Ben had two major surgeries.  The first one was performed in June by a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Latchaw.  The name of the surgery was a "Fundoplication" or Nissan wrap.  This is where they take the top of your stomach and wrap it tightly around your esophagus so that the food in your stomach won't "reflux" or travel back up the esophagus into your mouth.  This surgery was done to prevent Ben from aspirating his food into his lungs.  He stayed 8 days in the PICU at Dartmouth and recovered quite nicely from the surgery.  The only drawback was that his swallowing capabilities were changed and so when his secretions would pool in the back of the throat he would start coughing, choking and turning blue.  We tried so hard to fix this problem but in the end, the only thing that helped was to have a "Tracheotomy" done. 


             Ben eating with a "vented" system.  He seems to like it.          Homeward bound - YEAH!

After Ben recoverd from his Fundoplication surgery he went in a month later to have his tracheotomy placed.  This surgery was performed by Dr. Gosselin of ENT.  It was a very difficult decision for us to make but in the end we had no choice.  Ben stayed for about 10 days in order to recover and for Steve and I to learn the care that it would require, such as changing his trach on a weekly basis, the suctioning and cleaning care.  Because he now has an artificial airway he has to be on humidified air through a tube system so that his lungs can stay moist.  Most of us use our nose to moisten the air that reaches our lungs.  Ben really struggled at first because he coughed almost constantly.  There were times when I doubted whether or not I had done the right thing.  It took almost 6 months to resolve Ben's coughing - eventually they traded a cuffed trach for a regular trach - and now I feel like it was the best thing for Ben.  His breathing is more comfortable and we are able to control his secretions much better.  Below are some pictures from that surgery.  The one of Ben and his Dad, Steven is one of my favorite pictures.  There is nothing better than the comfort of a parent to a child.



You can better see the humidified air that is delivered through the tubing

to Ben's trach.  This is to keep his airways moist since he is not

able to breathe through his mouth and nose anymore.