Scars that strangle

Readers of this post may well know what adhesions are, but just to be sure, let’s start at the very beginning…

What are adhesions?

Adhesions are bands and webs of tough, fibrous and inelastic scar tissue which develop after tissue damage resulting from injury, surgery, an internal infection, endometriosis, some chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.  They can affect the functioning of muscles, joints, and ligaments, but cause most problems in the abdomen and chest where they can grow between our organs and the abdominal wall, or restrict the movement and work of our organs, causing pain and possibly restricting their function.

Adhesiolysis01.jpgAbout 10% of all people develop adhesions naturally (without surgical or other damage), but it is estimated that they occur in over 90% of people who have abdominal or chest surgery – which means many of us! So we may be thankful that they cause significant problems for only a minority – but that’s small comfort if you belong to that minority.

These problems range from unsightly sunken scars and pain to life-threatening abdominal blockages.  Adhesions cause 60 – 70% of small (upper) bowel obstructions in adults and can be the cause of chronic pelvic pain.

Some of us who have had infant surgery for infant pyloric stenosis, or for that matter any of a list of the diseases of the abdomen and chest may find that Continue reading “Scars that strangle”

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Infant pyloric stenosis – and its possible long-term effects

Patient & doctor03People who have had a close experience of infant Pyloric Stenosis (whether their own or as a parent) are often bewildered and perhaps bemused by the medical mantra that “You’ll have a new child – there are no known long-term effects”.

We can be thankful that it seems that this well-meant but misleading assurance is usually (but far from always) valid, both in the short and long term.  Because Pyloric Stenosis (“PS”) is rather common (2-5 in every 1,000 babies is a huge number world-wide) the widespread lack of awareness of and interest in the possible long-term effects of PS is probably a good indication that ongoing problems affect only a relatively small number – but again, worldwide this is a huge number. The web forum pages of Facebook, MedHelp, Patient, and Topix bear this out.  So do the more than 100+ visits each day to my original Blog (started in 2010).

If only our experiences and the facts agreed with that mantra!  This Blog is all about doing something about “What we wish we’d known” (its web address).

Short term long term cartoon02WordPress (which hosts my older blog) also gives me feedback, and it’s not surprising that the top number of searches there have been for information about the long-term effects of PS and the surgery for it.  In this post I overview the material I posted about this to my original Blog. In the coming months I plan to post progressively to this Blog, which has an Index Page (see the banner at the top of this screen) to enable readers to overview and access its contents.

What we wish we’d known and what we want to know about the possible long-term effects of PS… please read on… Continue reading “Infant pyloric stenosis – and its possible long-term effects”

Infant Surgery and Post Traumatic Stress – some key references

Inadequate pain management

New York Times – Researchers Warn on Anesthesia, Unsure of Risk to Children – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/health/researchers-call-for-more-study-of-anesthesia-risks-to-young-children.html (link)

Jill R Lawson, Standards of Practice and the pain of premature Infants – (pdf file incl additional articles) – http://www.recoveredscience.com/ROP_preemiepain.htm (link to Jill Lawson’s article only)

McGrath Patrick J – Science is not enough, The modern history of pediatric pain – Moderna historia dolor pediatrico.pdf – (file) – http://www.dolor.org.co/articulos/MOderna%20historia%20dolor%20pediatrico.pdf (link)

Pail’s Health Blog Nov 2010 – A Story of Babies in Pain and the Barbaric Malpractices of Medicine – http://www.theherbprof.com/blog/?p=66 (link)

Louis Tinnin, Awake and Paralyzed during Surgery – http://ezinearticles.com/?Awake-And-Paralyzed-During-Surgery&id=182472 (link)

Dvorsky, George, Why are so many Newborns still being denied Pain Relief? – http://gizmodo.com/why-are-so-many-newborns-still-being-denied-pain-relief-1755495866 (link)

Infant Memory – Body (or Somatic) Memory

Chamberlain David B – CV & publications.pdf – (file)

Website – Birth Psychology – A Bibliography of Dr David B Chamberlain’s writings – https://birthpsychology.com/journals/volume-28-issue-4/chamberlain-bibliography (link)

David B Chamberlain, Babies are Conscious – (file)

David B Chamberlain, Babies Don’t Feel Pain – a Century of Denial in Medicine http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/chamberlain.html – (link)

Levine, Peter A, Waking the Tiger – Healing Trauma, North Atlantic Books, 1997 (book title)

Van der Kolk, Bessel, The Body Keeps the Score – (book & summary article title) http://www.franweiss.com/pdfs/sensorimotor_vanderkolk_1994.pdf (link)

Van der Kolk, Bessel, Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma – http://www.shrinkrapradio.com/436.pdf (link)

Van der Kolk, Bessel, Developmental Trauma Disorder – (book & summary article title) http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Preprint_Dev_Trauma_Disorder.pdf (link)

Van der Kolk, Bessel, The Limits of Talk – http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/networker.pdf (link)

PTSD from Infant Trauma

K J S Anand & P R Hickey, Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus – http://www.cirp.org/library/pain/anand/ (link)

The New York Times, 24 Nov 1987, Philip M Boffey, Infants’ Sense of Pain Finally Recognized – http://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/24/science/infants-sense-of-pain-is-recognized-finally.html (link)

The New York Times Magazine, 10 Feb 2008, Annie Murphy Paul, The First Ache, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/magazine/10Fetal-t.html?_r=1&ex=12 (link)

Monell, Terry – When Pediatric Surgery causes Permanent Damage.docx (file)

Louis Tinnin – Infant Surgery without Anesthesia 130707.docx (file) – https://ltinnin.wordpress.com/ and https://ltinnin.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/infant-surgery-without-anesthesia/  (link)

Wendy P Williams – Are Your Symptoms due to Infant Surgical Trauma? – http://restoryyourlife.com/ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-dr-louis-tinnin-infant-surgery-without-anesthesia-pyloric-stenosis/ (link)

Wendy P Williams – Ten things to remember about pre-verbal Infant Trauma – http://restoryyourlife.com/preverbal-infant-trauma-preverbal-memory-emotions-sensations-breath-anxiety/ (link)

National Institute of Mental Health (USA) – comprehensive introductory brochure on PTSD – https://infocenter.nimh.nih.gov/nimh/product/Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder/QF%2016-6388 (link to brochure)

Ten things People with PTSD-related Dissociation should know – http://healthiest.pw/10-things-people-with-ptsd-related-dissociation-should-know/ (link)

  • N B – Chamberlain, Dvorsky, Van der Kolk and some others listed here have other material online and/or for sale
  • N B – this List is a work in progress

– Fred Vanderbom

“No brain – no pain” That’s insane!

Confused09Can a baby remember trauma experienced in her or his first years?

In times past the answer was an immediate and insistent “No”.

Before about 1990 it was commonly believed that because virtually nobody can recall and describe any event from early childhood, let alone early infancy, be it happy or troubling, a baby makes and keeps no record of anything before what we can later recall and express in words.

This of course sounded very reassuring and comforting!

  • The serious mistakes some parents make when a baby is very young – hey!  “They leave no memory, no record, no damage.”
  • Family, life and health dramas which a little one survives – “No need to worry about it affecting baby.”
  • Separation from mother, adoption, foster relationships – “None of this will affect let alone harm a little one.”
  • Will we have our baby son circumcised “so he looks like his dad”?  “Go ahead, I’m fine, no worries!”
  • My baby needs life-saving surgery but anesthetising a baby is risky – “Just go ahead, she won’t really suffer.”
  • A baby’s screams (obviously from extreme pain) under the knife upsets a young theatre nurse – “Hey, he won’t remember anything.”

Continue reading ““No brain – no pain” That’s insane!”

Is there a link between infant Pyloric Stenosis and later abdominal trouble?

Most General Practitioners (GPs) will reject any link out of hand.  Some GPs have even been known to ask their patient (or client) what “PS” (pyloric stenosis) is.

patient and doctor talkingWe can be sure that every medical textbook and training includes at least a page or part of a lecture on PS, which is the most common reason for non-elective surgery on infants in their first months and years.  But who can blame a medical student for not remembering everything they are told and read over six or more packed years? Let alone what is currently known about a condition most GPs will encounter only rarely? Continue reading “Is there a link between infant Pyloric Stenosis and later abdominal trouble?”

After infant surgery – untangling the emotional baggage

Shmool Roey 1612Last December my wife and I welcomed a friend and film-maker from the US.  I worked with him on a documentary he is making on a subject of common interest to all of us – the effects of infant surgery done when it was widely believed (esp. pre-1990) in the medical world that babies don’t feel or remember pain.  Yikes!  Yes, really.

My friend has interviewed several of us who had infant surgery in the “dark ages” and he is now recording interviews with several professionals who have written about or provide therapy for people affected by pre-conscious but unremembered (“somatic memory”) trauma.
We hope the result will be available Continue reading “After infant surgery – untangling the emotional baggage”