Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nikolina, Three Years Later: A Picture Story

Since I have related the story of granddaughter Nikolina's struggle to live and her subsequent remarkable development, I thought it might be about time to share pictures, which I have not done since she was in the hospital and first came home. (Shame on me!) The first year photos can be found here: Grandkids. Subsequent photos are below.

Age Two: The pictures in the yellow dress are from her birthday party. Clearly, her little brain is working -- she loves electronic devices and knows how to use them, including how to find, download, and watch her favorite movies on netflix. Of course, her physical condition requires constant monitoring and medical followup. She will probably always have a colostomy, and with almost no short intestine, she needs special milk. Otherwise, she eats and loves food. Her missing body parts (rectum, large intestine, colon) are still missing, but she seems to do well without them. The pieces that were sewn back together seem to be holding although continence looks like it will be an issue. This is not a surprise since her bladder was in three pieces and had to be reconstructed. I don't believe the doctors have been able to locate her spleen yet, but tests show that it is functioning, so it is somewhere within her body. With most of her organs in the wrong places, it is no surprise that the spleen can so easily play hide-and-seek with the doctors. She is not walking yet because of the need for braces and physical therapy. At two, it was considered too early to move forward with that or to make decisions about it, so she has become quite a little crawler. She can pull herself to standing, but her ankles give way quickly. In spite of all those little impediments, her exterior appearance gives nothing less and nothing more than the impression of a very happy and bright little girl, which she is.

Age Three: She now has bright pink braces, ankle-high, and her physical therapist is trying to determine whether or not she will need crutches for walking or will be able ultimately to ambulate, albeit awkwardly, without them. Time will tell. She still spends most of her time crawling, but that little mind of hers is running. Her eyes tell the larger story. As the pictures below, taken at a photo shoot, show, time has been kind to her. Routine follow-ups are, well, routine, thank God. Shane recently posted the pictures below on his facebook page, so I am certain he won't mind my reposting them here.


  1. Beautiful. I loved getting caught up with the story. I guess that's what the end-of-term is for--reconnecting. Thanks.

    1. The next time you are in Cali, perhaps you can meet her. She's quite a little character -- happy as a lark but strong-willed: gets her own way most of the time, and with a smile.


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