Christmas Love for the Collins Family

It’s Christmas, and this beautiful family is back in the hospital with their eleven year old daughter. Selah needed emergency surgery on Saturday because the incision site from her spinal fusion in November became infected. The infection wasn’t just on the surface. It went all the way down to her bones, so the entire thing had to be opened up and cleaned out. She hadn’t yet fully recovered from the initial surgery, and this second round of unplanned surgeries will mean tacking on more months of recovery time. The Collins family has been through the ringer over and over again with medical scares, surgeries, and hospital stays. Please consider showing them some Christmas love to help offset the costs of yet another extended hospital stay and extensive recovery. These people are some of the very best ever and they need our help.  

Here is a more detailed explanation of what is going on:

Selah had multiple major surgeries as an infant, including open heart. These life-saving surgeries can also bring spinal risks later in life, and Selah was one of those kids that developed early onset scoliosis due to a couple of large thoracic surgeries she had as an infant. In the beginning of November, Selah had a spinal fusion to correct her scoliosis. The pictures show her spine before and after. 

Unfortunately, with extensive surgery comes extensive recovery. Selah needed a blood transfusion three days post-op because her body wasn’t regenerating the blood lost during surgery. She also had a horrible allergic reaction to the adhesives used on her surgical wound that they had to fight for weeks, and she had extensive, prolonged pain as her body adjusted to being held up by metal rods. 

While there was a long recovery road ahead of them, by mid-December things were starting to feel manageable. 

Then this week some of the scabs from the bottom of Selah’s incision started coming off, which revealed that the wound was not healing correctly. They suspect this may partially be the result of her severe allergic skin reaction to the adhesive dressing over her initial incision. Doctors put antimicrobial dressings on early this week, but by Friday Selah had a fever and it was apparent she had developed an infection at the incision site. Their surgeon sent them to Children’s Hospital and surgery was immediately scheduled for Saturday morning to go in, re-open the incision site, and clean out the infection. 

Their surgeon had hoped the infection was only on the surface, but sadly, it wasn’t. The infection went down to the bone and the hardware, so he had to open the entire incision to check and clean the whole thing. A couple draining pumps were put in that will stay in for the next couple of days, and while the wound is covered and protected, it is still open and hasn’t closed up yet. At some point this week, she will have another surgery to clean it again and *hopefully* close it up if everything looks okay.  As far as they know, the infection was caught early enough that the hardware from the initial surgery will not need to be replaced. 

To further complicate things, there was no alternative to keeping the dressing and pump on, so it’s taped down with the same adhesive tape that caused the initial allergic reaction. The team used different prep materials in hopes that that may help avoid another allergic reaction, and they are diligently researching and talking to specialists to see if they can get to the bottom of Selah’s sudden hyperactive skin sensitivities.  They won’t know until the dressing is removed following the next surgery if the changes in skin prep will help her body avoid the allergic rash. For now, next steps include antibiotics to help fight the infection. These will likely need to be on board for a year to protect the hardware while the bone fusion heals.

The Collins family has a long journey ahead of them. The three of them are some of the best people you will meet. Let’s show them some Christmas love to help offset the costs of yet another extended hospital stay and extensive recovery.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Jessica Johnson
Detroit Lakes, MN
Sarah Collins

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