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My eight-year old son recently underwent an Appendectomy procedure, a relatively young age for his case. Ask Me Anything!

Rose Morrison Faraon
Jun 18, 2017

It was very saddening the moment we learned about his condition as we have been striving to live a healthy lifestyle. But during those trying times and we barely have money to spend, our son was exuberant with braveness! He was calm, and told me and my husband a story of a heavenly experience he felt inside the operating room. Seems the stars conspired with us!

At first, we thought it was only the usual cough accompanied by a low fever. Then it was gradually replaced with an abdominal pain so we decided to bring him to his pediatrician. The following day, he would just sleep the whole day. At around 4pm, I found him chilling in bed. That is the time that I decided to bring him to the hospital. I have only PhP300 in my pocket but  I decided to bring him though. The attending doctor in the hospital told me upon examining my son that it was Appendicitis but I refuse to believe knowing that his pediatrician has already ruled out the said condition. He was admitted for observation. The following day, he was given subsequent doses of pain relievers but was relieved only a bit. Then we were advised in the evening that he is scheduled for an ultrasound at 12 noon the following day. Then came the ultrasound result, it was confirmed Appendicitis, The surgeon wants to have it done by 7pm but we decided to seek for a second opinion. We went to three different hospitals and they confirmed the same findings , but they could not guarantee as to when he will be attended and prepared for operation. We called the first hospital if they could still re-admit us and they answered in the affirmative. During the whole time that my son showed up signs of the condition, he never cried nor complained but was very cooperative and would display happiness and hope to us all. When he was about to be brought inside the operating room, he just asked me if they will cut open his stomach. I told him that the doctor will just massage it, We prayed and after that, submitted himself to the operating team. After the operation, we asked him what went on in the operating room and that is when he told us about his beautiful experience inside the operating room. And his school, without knowing what he went through, gave him a "Brave Soul" award during the recognition ceremony.We believe God provided us and our dear son with everything we need during that time. 

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My daughter was 9 when she had the same thing. It is such a scary time. She is now 20. 

Jun 18, 4:45PM EDT0

Hello, David Johnson and Vera Zelkina-Johnson. It was indeed a scary time! Especially when he was about to be brought to the operating room and we dont know what will happen. The same feeling goes when my son was released from the operating room! He was shivering and we thought he's gonna die, really. But thank God that he is ok now and you wouldn't believe that he had such experience because he is still the same lively and cheerful boy that everybody knew. Glad to hear about your 20 year-old daughter's succesful surgery too! Thanks and best regards.

Jun 19, 8:53AM EDT0

How soon after the first symptoms can an appendix rupture?

Jun 18, 3:01AM EDT0

Hello, Jennifer. The appendix can rupture anytime once the symptoms are present. In my son's case, we were advised to have him subjected to an operation immediately after it was confirmed in his KUB ultrasound considering that it was an emergency situation. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 18, 12:03PM EDT0

What kind of diet is recommended after an appendicitis?

Jun 17, 9:53PM EDT0

Hello, Dillon. The kind of diet that was advised after my son's appendectomy was a soft diet for one day then he was allowed to take on solid food in small amounts on the second day excluding  those that are fatty and oily. Then on the third day, his surgeon allowed him to eat what he wants in moderation, though his pediatrician would not advise food that are fatty and oily. Thanks and best regards.

Last edited @ Jun 18, 11:59AM EDT.
Jun 18, 11:59AM EDT0

Did you feel any guilt or responsibility as a parent?

Jun 17, 1:18AM EDT0

Hello, Jacob. I would say that yes at first, and no at the end of the event. At first, my husband and I was thinking if we ever had been irresponsible in taking care of the child that he caught the condition. But after carefully thinking about it, we believe that we have done everything for the well-being of our son, even before and after the operation. We have tried to eat and live healthy, provided for the health needs of our family. And as we see him now, it removed all the doubts on our capability in raising our son. No guilty feelings indeed. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 1:13PM EDT0

Are there any support groups for parents of very young patients?

Jun 15, 11:35AM EDT0

Hi, Allison. There is none that I know of here in the Phillippines as of now. But we do have our "personal" support group :) Our family and church friends supported us all along the way and it really helped us cope with the experience. Thank you for the question and best regards.

Last edited @ Jun 16, 9:17AM EDT.
Jun 16, 8:51AM EDT0

How are you coping with fears for your son after this event?

Jun 15, 7:58AM EDT0

Hello, Elizabeth. My fear during that time was for any sign of complication to appear. So we made it a point to see his doctors regularly for follow-up check up and ask them about our observations if it was ok for his condition. And i took a leave of absence from work to stay by his side, attend to his needs and personally monitor his recovery. We made it a point that he avoids any activity that would aggravate his wound. I also fear the cleaning of the wound process so I would ask my husband to do the cleaning as I would likely faint whenever i see blood and wounds. But the best way of conquering our fear that time was to trust in God and pray for our son. Thank you for your question and best regards.

Last edited @ Jun 16, 9:18AM EDT.
Jun 16, 9:01AM EDT0

How long did it take for your son to recover?

Jun 15, 7:28AM EDT0

Hi, Krogers. It took him three (3) days before my son was discharged from the hospital after the procedure when he was able to pee, poop, fart and walk upright; and almost only a month to fully recover. As per his surgeon's advice, it will take 2-3 months for a patient to fully recover from Appendectomy but after only a week, he was able to walk normally and almost a month, his activities has been back to normal saved those running activities which he was prohibited to do. His peditrician allowed him to go on swimming after three weeks since it was summer time. Best regards.

Last edited @ Jun 16, 9:17AM EDT.
Jun 16, 9:17AM EDT0

What are your long-term concerns about your son's health?

Jun 15, 2:37AM EDT0

Hi, Monica. My long-term concerns about my son's health is first, his surgery would likely limit his physical activities as a child and adult in the future although according to his doctors and family friends, his activities will go back to normal. Before his operation, i would like him to enroll in a taekwondo class since he is very active and a good candidate for the sport. But now, i dont think i would allow him anymore . Next is that, his emotional intelligence might likely be affected and his school performance might also be affected since he already undergone a major operation. Lastly, will his body function the way it should be given the fact that he has lost a part of his organ and will there be any complication that might show in the future. Thank you for your question and best regards.

Jun 16, 9:28AM EDT0

Do you know whether appendicitis runs in families?

Jun 14, 8:13PM EDT0

Hello, Rachel. I dont think appendicitis runs in the family because my son was the first case of appendicitis that have occured in both sides of our family. My husband and I have asked our family members and there is none that they know of who have undergone the same procedure. Thank you for your question and best regards.

Jun 16, 9:32AM EDT0

How was the doctor able to diagnose your son's condition?

Jun 14, 6:20PM EDT0

Hello, Lynn. My son's pediatrician was able to diagnose his condition through a KUB ultrasound that indicated an impression of "A 0.8 cm blind ending tubular structure is noted in the right  lower quadrant highly suspicious for appendicitis".Then he asked for the opinion of my son's pediatric surgeon who confirmed that it was indeed appendicitis that needs immediate medical attention. Thank you for your question and best regards.

Jun 16, 9:41AM EDT0

Did your son's appendix rupture, or was it caught early enough?

Jun 14, 9:29AM EDT0

Hi, Jennifer. My son's appendix did not actually rupture per his surgeons explanation but it had a small hole which became a source of leakage and that leak became some sort of puss in his intestines. His appendix has been intact but has changed in size and color. It was enlarged and had already rotten inside his stomach as shown from what they have recovered. I think it was caught early enough from eventually rupturing and further poisoning his body. Thank you for the question and best regards.

Jun 16, 10:08AM EDT0

Is your son proud to show off his appendectomy scar?

Jun 14, 5:12AM EDT0

Hello, Wlewis.

Yes! He is very proud to show off his appendectomy scar to anyone! It's almost 20cm long and does'nt show any traces of stitches made save the horizontal line of the scar. It looks very good though, compared to other surgical scars i've seen :) Thanks for the question and best regards.

Jun 16, 10:13AM EDT0

What is your advice for parents as a result of your experience?

Jun 14, 3:28AM EDT0

Based on my experience, I highly advice parents of the following:

1. Personally attend, monitor and take care of their sick children if they could possibly do so. This will help both the parent/s and child to work on the faster healing and medication of the child.

2. Dont hesitate to ask for a second opinion if you are having second thoughts about the condition. Just be sure that it will be made on a timely manner to avoid complications or worst, death of the patient.

3. Sometimes, no matter how much we protect and take care of our children, challenges and situations like this will happen. Love, concern and unity in the family makes us strong enough to overcome.

5. Visit those whom you know are sick. It uplifts theirs and their family's spirit and makes them feel loved, remembered and helps them to heal faster!

6. Put your trust in God ,who is the owner of our lives, and that He is always there to provide for our needs, really. Do your best, and God will do the rest.

Thank you for the question and best regards.

Jun 16, 10:30AM EDT0

What is the prognosis for someone with appendicitis today?

Jun 14, 12:31AM EDT0

Hello, Scott. The prognosis of my son's surgeon is that my son will likely recover faster if he will gradually make some allowed movements like taking a short walk rather than being stationary in position. Also, his surgeon told us that most of his patients fully recover in 2-3 months but children are comparably faster to recover than adults. His activities will be back to normal after fully recovering from the operation. Thank you for your question and best regards.

Jun 16, 10:39AM EDT0

How skeptical were the doctors about your young son's diagnosis?

Jun 14, 12:18AM EDT0

Hi, Jeffrey. The two pediatrcians were quite skeptical about the diagnosis. His original pediatrician has ruled out the condition considering the laboratory results and physical examination that does not correlate to the expected result for appendicitis. The WBC was low normal and the doctor thought it was just a simple UTI. Then the next attending pediatrician told us that she is also in doubt if it really was appendicitis since my son has shown signs of high tolerance for pain and the following laboratory results yielded normal results though the pain would not go away. When my son was subjected for a KUB ultrasound, the attending pediatrician asked for the assistance of a surgeon prior to confirming that it was indeed appendicitis. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 12:42PM EDT0

Is there any kind of diet that can help you avoid appendicitis?

Jun 13, 10:55PM EDT0

Hello, Steven. The kind of diet to help you avoid appendicitis according to some research is one that is high in fiber. I would also suggest to regularly load on more water to help your body to function well and flush out the toxins. Thank you and best regards.

Jun 17, 12:32PM EDT0

Can you describe the typical appendicitis patient, in demographic terms?

Jun 13, 7:31PM EDT0

Hi, Michaellee. This is kind of a difficult question for me since I was not informed about the demographic specifications of the condition and I believe it takes one who really understands demography to describe it in the vernacular. There are some known research though, that could provide us with the demographic terms of a typical appendicitis patient and here are some of the links:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

https://www.journalagent.com

https://www.intechopen.com

Thank you for the very insightful question and best regards.

Jun 17, 1:08PM EDT0

What was the youngest recorded case of appendectomy?

Jun 13, 6:36PM EDT0

Hello, Dean. The youngest recorded case of appendectomy based on my research was at 5 days old. Thank you for your question and best regards.

Jun 17, 12:26PM EDT0

What are the risk factors for suffering appendicitis?

Jun 13, 3:44PM EDT0

Hello, Todd. Based on my research about the condition after my son's operation, age, infection,  and a low fiber diet are some of the risk factors for suffering appendicitis. Children to young adults are most likely to suffer from appendicitis and those who have suffered gastrointestinal infections are more susceptible to the condition. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 12:23PM EDT0

As a result of this medical event, how has your son changed?

Jun 13, 3:29PM EDT0

Hi, John. My son has not really changed a lot after the medical event. He is still the same active boy that we knew, he just became extra sweet, maybe because he has felt our love and concern during those time. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 12:13PM EDT0

What have you learned about the appendix, a vestigial organ?

Jun 13, 1:33PM EDT0

Hi, Melissa. I have learned that contrary to the belief that the appendix has no use and function for our body, it actually boosts our immune system and somehow helps in removing toxins in our body. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 12:08PM EDT0

Were you insured for this, and what would you do if you weren't?

Jun 13, 1:13PM EDT0

Hello, Katelyn. My son was not insured for the operation. I have only secured for the health insurance of my husband and mine since we were thinking that they are still young to be hospitalized. We have never anticipated the condition to be coming. We have received some financial support from family members and some subsidy from our government health insurance agency in paying for the hospital bill. But now, we have availed for the whole family's health insurance. Lesson learned :) Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 12:00PM EDT0

Were you satisfied with the medical care your son received?

Jun 13, 11:58AM EDT0

Hi, Michelle. Yes, we were very satisfied with the medical care that we have received from the doctors and hospital staff. In fact, our succeding consultations for our medical concerns and sickness were done in the same hospital. They have earned our trust and confidence. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 11:53AM EDT0

Did your young son undergo a laparoscopic procedure?

Jun 13, 8:11AM EDT0

Hello, Michelle. My son did not undergo a laparoscopic procedure but an open surgery instead. We were not given the option because the hospital does not offer such modern technology facility as they are only categorized as Level 1 in service capability  and with a general hospital classification. Thanks and best regards.

Last edited @ Jun 18, 12:23PM EDT.
Jun 17, 11:49AM EDT0

Do you think there needs to be more awareness about appendicitis?

Jun 13, 2:49AM EDT0

Hello, Brad. Yes, i think it would help to raise awareness about appendicitis though it can be easily detected and treated nowadays with modern technology. Also, there is no known cause of the condition according to the doctors which can add to the  difficulty in promoting awareness. Thanks and best regards.

Last edited @ Jun 17, 11:34AM EDT.
Jun 17, 11:34AM EDT0

Did you use the internet to figure out your son's symptoms?

Jun 13, 2:19AM EDT0

Hello, ZJOHNSON. Yes, i used the internet to figure out my son's symptoms but it is really better to see a doctor to do the physical examination and evaluation on the patient. The internet helped me in knowing what to do first and foremost before the operation, and to fully understand his condition after the operation. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 11:25AM EDT0

What is your message to other parents about this issue?

Jun 13, 12:13AM EDT0

Hello, Jamie. I would advice parents to be proactive about the health of their children and to immediately attend to the signs and symptoms that their children are showing when they are sick so as to prevent further complications that may arise. Give your best attention to your children when they are not feeling well so you wont regret anything in the future. And help your children to accept and understand their condition so they would also know what to do and what they should not do. This will help the both of you to effectively work your way to recovery. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 11:17AM EDT0

What is the outcome if appendicitis goes untreated?

Jun 12, 11:24PM EDT0

Hello, Samantha. Appendicitis would likely lead to death if untreated. It is a serious medical condition that needs immediate attention so as to avoid from perforation or rupturing  of the appendix that could result to fatal infection. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 11:05AM EDT0

What restrictions did your son face after the procedure?

Jun 12, 8:47PM EDT0

Hi, Gloria. There were many restrictions after the procedure of my son. First (and i think the hardest), was that he is not allowed to drink and eat anything for three days  starting from his preparation for the operation until he was able to pee, poop and fart and until the movement of his intestines returned to normal . Next is that he should only lay flat in bed after returning from the operating room and was not allowed to change position for quite a number of hours. He was also restricted to walk and run and do other strenuous  activities during his recuperation. His diet was also restricted at first, avoiding fatty and oily foods. As of now, we were advised that he can return to his normal activities though we would restrict him from running to avoid him from falling and stumbling. Thanks and best regards.

Last edited @ Jun 18, 12:27PM EDT.
Jun 17, 10:56AM EDT0

What was your son's recovery process like?

Jun 12, 7:38PM EDT0

Hi, Ashley. My son's recovery process  was a step-by-step but fast one according to his doctors. It has been easy because he was obedient to the advice and instructions of the doctors as well as ours, his parents. From the need to pee,poop, fart to walking and moving around for faster healing of the wound, he was really determined to do those things. The hospital staff was really amazed with the speedy recovery that he has shown and has earned the admiration of the people there.Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 10:41AM EDT0

Will your son have any lasting effects from this?

Jun 12, 7:23PM EDT0

Hello, OSCHWARTZ. The doctors told us that his activities will be back to normal after 2-3 months of recovery and that there will be no other lasting effect saved for the scarring of the wound. We are still observing for any signs of complications. Thankfully, he has been back to his normal activities and shows a really healthy body and mind until now. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 10:33AM EDT0

How can all parents be proactive about their children's health?

Jun 12, 5:37PM EDT0

Hello, Margaret. Parents can be proactive about their children's health by providing them healthy food and having a healthy lifestyle. It really helped us in coping up with our son's condition because it may have worsen and has been more difficult if not because of our efforts to live and practice the two mentioned factors. Also, it would help if we can monitor our children's activities and see what they are doing and up to despite our busy schedules. And in our experience, having a health maintenance organization (service provider) will do a lot for the health of our family and children in particular. Thank you and best regards.

Jun 17, 10:27AM EDT0

What symptoms of appendicitis did your young son show?

Jun 12, 4:25PM EDT0

Hi, VGUERRA. At first, he has shown some symptoms of abdonimal pain that would usually go away with accompanied fever. Then it escalated to an on and off abdominal pain which is more severe, with at least three occurence of vomiting and some diarrhea. Then he would sleep most of the day, and would only wake up to say that his tummy aches and would go back to sleep. The last sign that made us rush him to the hospital was when we found him chilling in bed, and upon arriving at the hospital, his temperature rose to 39.8. Thank you and best regards.

Jun 17, 10:18AM EDT0

How rare is appendicitis in someone as young as your son?

Jun 12, 4:24PM EDT0

Hello, ERICA11. According to the doctors of my son, it was their first case of appendectomy done to a child of his age. And most of the people our family and friends knew who has already undergone the same surgery were in either their teenage years or was an adult already. In a study that i have read after his procedure, it says that the condition occurs in 4 out of 1,000 children. Thanks and best regards.

Jun 17, 10:08AM EDT0

How soon after you brought your son to the doctor was he operated on?

Jun 12, 1:19PM EDT0

Hello, William. He was admitted in the hospital Wednesday night and was supposedly scheduled to be operated on Friday night but was re-scheduled early morning of Saturday since we have asked for a second opinion from another hospital. Prior to his admission to the hospital, we first had an out-patient consultation with his original pediatrician on Tuesday morning. Thank you and best regards.

Jun 17, 10:01AM EDT0

How did this medical event affect your whole family?

Jun 12, 12:45PM EDT0

Hi, Kelly. The medical event affected us emotionally but in a positive way. Both families of my husband and mine were very supportive during the event. It was difficult for us parents to see our child after he has been released from the operating room, but it has strengthened our faith in God, our extended family ties became stronger, and it has made us more attached to our son. It was really a learning experience for our family, an event that brought us closer to God, family and friends. Thank you and best regards.

Jun 17, 9:55AM EDT0

Is there any way to prevent appendicitis from occurring?

Jun 12, 12:40PM EDT0

Hello, SWILSON. Based on the explanation of the doctors to us, there is really no known cause of appendicitis so as to prevent it from occuring. Anything can be trapped inside the appendix such as food particles, stool, parasite or bacteria that may cause the condition and once the condition is present, it can not be reversed. Thank you for your question and best regards.

Jun 17, 9:46AM EDT0

After this procedure, how does your son now react to doctors?

Jun 12, 11:10AM EDT0

Hi, Barkerjoseph. My son remained submissive and friendly to every doctor after the procedure because he knew that they were the ones who helped him to get well and feel better. Thanks for the question, best regards.

Jun 17, 9:42AM EDT0

Did you get a second opinion, and why or why not?

Jun 12, 10:20AM EDT0

Hi, Jimmy. Yes, we seeked for a second opinion because the attending pediatrician for my son told us that she herself, was not sure if it really was appendicitis so she had to call a surgeon to verify the results. We asked for the permission of the pediatrician to secure a second opinion and she permitted us provided we sign a waiver that we have requested to be discharged against medical advice for the said purpose. The second and actually third opinions yielded the same findings. Thanks for your question and best regards.

Jun 17, 9:40AM EDT0