Good News!


(2nd Blog Post by “Bert & I” on Behalf of ICU-Resident Ali)

Ali is alive … albeit not presently so chatty!

 Not so chatty

In ICU one  hour after surgery… not so chatty, indeed!

Her 4-hour, triple laminectomy and spinal cord surgery today was concluded at least one hour faster than anticipated and has been judged “highly successful” by her experienced Kunming neurosurgical team.  Less than 40cc of blood was lost.

The Team

Team Ali on Monday … Dr. Liu + members of his team

Here’s the story of Ali’s day:

At 8:30 a.m. she was moved from her room on the 7th floor of Kunming Tongren Hospital to the operating theatre on the 3rd floor.  Ali had fretted about how this transfer would play out, given how large she is relative to the average Chinese, but her anxiety melted when a team of no less than 8 hospital staff showed up to whisk her away.

Fighting words

The Boss ( Dr. Zhu Hui ) to Ali: “FIGHT!”

Words of encouragement

Words of encouragement from brother Mattias

Team Ali

Ali: “How will I be moved?”   Mattias: “Are you kidding?”

En Route to OR

Shipping her out to Operating Theatre …

Given time required for preparation and anesthesia, the actual surgery commenced at 10 o’clock and lasted until 2 p.m.  All other variables being equal, faster surgery generally offers better outcomes.  Confident, experienced surgeons work faster and with less peripheral damage than do less experienced surgeons.

See you on the other side

Team Chief, Dr. Zhu Hui: ‘Trust me!’

Father & Daughter

Dad: “We’ve done our homework. It’ll work!”

While we are happy to report that Ali’s surgery proceeded without complications, this is not to say there were no surprises, because there were, two in particular.

Early in the operation, it was discovered that Ali’s intracranial pressure was extremely high … so high, in fact, that when the Dura Mater was pierced, Cerebral Spinal Fluid (“CSF”) spurted 5-to-6 cm vertically!  Evidently this high pressure occurred because Ali’s CSF circulation had been substantially blocked by scar tissue in the ventral sub-arachnoid space … that is, scar tissue from the original injury trapped inside her spinal cord.. 

While MRI images are not intended to measure fluid pressure, the discovery of such high pressure helps account for at least some of the escalating, severe neuropathic pain Ali has been experiencing in recent months.

The other unanticipated discovery was that Ali’s dorsal vertebral arch (bone) was much thinner than usual – indeed, just paper-thin.  It is believed this resulted from the sustained high intracranial pressure referred above, and, obviously, degeneration of such a key structural element had ominous implications for Ali.  Now the high CSF pressure is back to normal, and the weakened lamina are gone, having today been surgically replaced by titanium rods and screws.

One other interesting observation as follows:  when Dr. Liu made his way round the left side of Ali’s spinal cord to remove tethering scar tissue and to lance the big cyst, he observed there was no pulsation in Ali’s spinal cord.  A hour later, after cutting away “very severe” tethering around the ventral side of her spinal cord, Dr. Liu reports that Ali’s cord is now pulsating again with the rhythms of her heartbeat and breathing.

As for the anterior cyst about which Ali has reported so much in recent weeks, this turned out to be as long as the latest MRIs had suggested (longer than 3 cm) but considerably wider than anticipated … suggesting yet another explanation for severe compression of the dorsal root ganglion that channels pain.  More ominous still, vertical development of the cyst had reached high enough in her spinal cord to begin impacting breathing function … and, indeed, Ali has reported experiencing difficulty breathing during the past week.

Right now Ali is resting in ICU, attended round-the-clock by a neurosurgeon + dedicated 24 hour rotation nurses stationed at the foot of her bed + a three person team of therapists who constantly massage her legs to prevent a pulmonary embolism.  Kunming neurosurgical team leader, Dr. Zhu Hui, insists in sleeping in hospital tonight “just in case” there were to be a complication to which she could response faster in person that by telephone!

Rush to ICU

Rushing from Operating Theatre to ICU

Ali is expected to be in ICU for two days and then to return to her room on the 7th floor for the balance of the week.  She can then recuperate in her nearby apartment, which hospital staff will visit several times daily to check up on her

 Dad & Liu - Post Surgery

 Dad + relaxed Dr. Liu …  30 minutes post-surgery




17 responses »

  1. Yay! Thanks for the updates, and when she is awake, tell her that her friends on the other side of the world are thinking of her and so happy the surgery was a success (even though that all sounded VERY intense). Thinking of you Ali!!

  2. Dear Ali! Bravo! Soooo Very HAPPY to hear you are in recovery! Soooo Very HAPPY to hear the GREAT NEWS! Feel good! Can’t wait to hear MORE!

  3. We are all rooting for her from in Miami .Wishing her luck and know that she is in our prayers every day . Keep us posted and thank you and God bless

    Beba and Jorge Padron

  4. Ali, you did it!!! You are a champion. So proud of you for going ahead with this surgery despite how scared you must have been. I feel like this is a brand new beginning for you. Happy New Year.

  5. What an incredible team! Amazing. Much love to all, so glad it went well, and looking forward to hearing your progress Ali! Xxx

  6. Hi Ali! Jim and I thought about you all day and we both smiled from ear to ear when we read about your very successful surgery! Get your rest because you’ll be standing again before you know it. Big hugs to you, Kassey and Jim (from New Jersey)

  7. *David here below is good news about this day ‘s surgery…Keep uplifting, as I am, because Ali has a long road ahead. See fun photo attached of my day with Ali Ingersoll’s sisters-in-law and niece.* * * *Love-Love,* *Linda *

  8. All sounds fantastic, Ali. Danielle & I are looking forward to the next instalment when you wake up. So So So happy x

  9. Thank you so much for the detailed marvelous report! Ali will recover quickly with all your support and family love!! If there are any videos of the op kicking around, I could draw up the operation for you folks… Lots of love and best wishes, Bunni and Mark Noble

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