- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
Maine girl bouncing back after 6-organ transplant
HOLLIS, MAINE (AP) - A 9-year-old Maine girl is home from a Boston hospital healthy, active and with high hopes _ and a new stomach, liver, spleen, small intestine, pancreas, and part of an esophagus to replace the ones that were being choked by a huge tumor.
It’s believed to be the first-ever transplant of an esophagus and the largest number of organs transplanted at one time in New England.
Spunky and bright-eyed as she scampered around her family’s farmhouse outside Portland, Alannah Shevenell said Thursday that she’s glad to be feeling well again and able to go sledding, make a snowman, work on her scrapbooks and give her grandmother a little good-humored sass.
The best part, though? “Being home,” she said. “Just being home.”
It was 2008 when Alannah, then 5, began running a fever and losing weight while her belly swelled. Doctors discovered the tumor that year and twice attempted to remove it, as it made its way like octopus legs from organ to organ. But it was difficult to access what turned out to be a rare form of sarcoma, said Debi Skolas, Alannah’s grandmother, and chemotherapy didn’t do the trick, either.
All the time, the growth _ known as an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor _ continued to grow in her abdomen, causing pain, making it hard to eat and swelling her up with fluid. Surgery was the last resort to save her life, and Alannah spent more than a year on a waiting list for the organs, said Dr. Heung Bae Kim, the lead surgeon on the procedure at Children’s Hospital Boston.
The family was told there was a 50 percent chance Alannah wouldn’t survive the procedure. But without it, she had no chance whatsoever.
Things were more tense than celebratory in October when doctors prepared to remove the growth and the organs in one fell swoop and replace them with organs transplanted in one tangled piece from another child of similar size.
The hardest part was taking out her organs and the tumor, Kim said, calling it a difficult operation with lots of blood loss.
“It’s probably one of the most extensive tumor removals ever done,” the surgeon said.
Dr. Allan Kirk, professor of surgery at Emory University in Atlanta and the editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Transplantation, said no other esophageal transplant has been reported in medical literature.
After the surgery, Alannah spent three more months at the hospital, with her grandmother sleeping every night in a lounge chair by her bed. She battled infections and complications from the surgery before finally being given the OK to leave.
She arrived back home Wednesday in the 192-year-old house on a country road where she lives with her grandmother and grandfather, Jamie Skolas, in Hollis, a town of 4,500 residents about 20 miles west of Portland.
But just because she’s home doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods. Alannah has to take nine medications each day, some two, three or four times. Her grandparents have to precisely measure what goes in and comes out of her body, and check her blood sugar.
She has an ostomy pouch and feeding tube attached to her for nutrition as she slowly gets used to eating again. Scars from her surgeries look like a roadmap on her stomach. A tutor comes to the home 20 hours a week for her schooling.
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- FISHER: Shades of Berlin in the South China Sea
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.