Lebanon's Michayla Nelson and her mom, Rachel, make a "pinky promise" in this photo taken in May. Photo: CONNIE ESH / The Wilson Post
By JENNIFER HORTON
A Lebanon (Tenn) girl in need of a liver transplant received it on Tuesday and is doing well after surgery, her aunt said Wednesday morning.
Michayla Nelson, who completed first grade this past year at Southside Elementary School, was diagnosed with liver cancer at 6 months old. Although chemotherapy stopped the cancer, she needed a new liver.
Her mother, Rachel, told The Wilson Post in an article published in the May 21 edition, that approximately 70 percent of the child’s liver was surgically removed and doctors thought the remaining 30 percent would regenerate as it usually does.However, Michayla’s liver instead developed cirrhosis.
Valerie Dearsman, Michayla’s aunt, called The Post on Wednesday to report that she was doing well after the surgery that began about 5 p.m., Tuesday, and ended around 9:20 p.m.
“The doctors came down with big smiles on their faces,” she said.
Valerie said Rachel received a call from someone at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt at 9 a.m., Tuesday, telling her a donor had been found and to be at the hospital by noon.
Michayla began getting ready for the operation by 4 and was taken to surgery at 4:20 p.m. The operation began at 5.
The doctors said there were no complications and the transplant procedure was “perfect,” Valerie said. She added that before Michayla was sewn up, doctors said the liver had already started to work on its own.
Michayla was taken to recovery. By 11 Tuesday night, Valerie said, she was awake and alert and could respond by shaking her head.
All of her drainage tubes and breathing tube have also been removed. “She’s a trooper,” Valerie said.
Doctors and nurses are keeping her comfortable as she continues to recover from her surgery. She is in the critical care unit at Children’s Hospital.
Valerie said doctors said the first 48 hours are usually and up-and-down period for patients as their systems’ stabilize, but so far she Michayla is doing well. She is expected to be in the hospital three to four weeks.
“It was amazing yesterday,” Valerie said, noting everyone had been wondering how they would react when the operation finally happened.
She said family members were excited and happy that everything had gone so well.
“It was a gift, a blessing,” she added. For details on fund raisers to help with the family's expenses Read the full article.
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