Addie Vogl again in hospital for surgery

Doctors will operate to fix her stomach, which has become twisted, and to stop a leak from her liver.

01:00 AM EST on Friday, February 20, 2004

By STEVE PEOPLES
Journal Staff Writer

 

PROVIDENCE -- Addison Vogl has never eaten solid food.

Born 89 days premature and then diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, 11-month-old Addie is used to eating from tubes and sleeping on hospital beds.

Her mother, Stacey Vogl, has slept in their Portsmouth home just once since the family returned to Rhode Island almost three weeks ago from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. Doctors there removed 75 percent of Addie's liver and all of the cancer.

This morning at Hasbro Children's Hospital, Addie will undergo the fourth major surgery of her young life.

Reached in Hasbro's oncology ward last night, Stacey Vogl rattled off the list of Addie's newest ailments like a mother who has been asked too many times:

Addie's stomach needs to be untwisted and pulled down.

The feeding tube in her stomach needs to be replaced.

The bile leak on her liver needs to be fixed.

A valve on the top of her stomach needs to be adjusted.

A new central line needs to be inserted for the additional two rounds of chemotherapy Addie will need after the surgery.

The family had hoped the surgery in Maryland would be the last major hurdle standing between them and the beginning of a normal life. But Addie's liver didn't heal as doctors had hoped. And her stomach became twisted.

"The stomach sits on the left lobe of the liver, but because they removed that now the stomach is floating," Stacey said. "After the surgery they anticipate a feeding tube will be in her for another six to eight months."

There is a chance that Addie will be home in time for her first birthday, March 1. If the surgery goes well, doctors expect her recovery to last five to seven days.

Then the chemotherapy will resume.

Even though tests show the cancer has not returned, doctors want to give Addie another two three-week rounds of chemotherapy to be on the safe side.

"We have to get her on chemo soon," Stacey said. "If they detect one cancer cell it may replicate. It's scary."

Hasbro's pre-op waiting room will be packed with Addie's family during today's procedure, which could last up to five hours. Addie's grandparents have been living in the family's Portsmouth home off and on for the past several months, an attempt to keep things as normal as possible for the Vogl's 12-year-old son Taylor.

Addie's father Mike plans to take the seventh grader to a hockey game Sunday night, a rare father-son moment in a year dominated by financial worries and trips to the hospital. Most nights Mike sleeps next to Stacey on one of the oncology ward's large fold-out chairs in Addie's hospital room.

"I can sleep almost anywhere at this point," Stacey said. "We have two chairs side by side. ... They give us blankets."

Since news of Addie's story became public in late December, people from across the state have responded by sending the family thousands of dollars in donations and gift baskets.

Some residents offered parts of their livers. Stacey's former coworkers donated weeks worth of vacation days. Mike's new employer let the family use the company plane for out-of-state hospital trips.

Last night Stacey was too tired to reiterate the gratitude she feels for all the support.

"[Addie's] been having difficulty sleeping. About every 25 minutes she'll wake up and cry," Stacey said. "But last night was pretty good. ... I think I slept from 3:30 to 6:30 [a.m.]."

The Vogls have established a Web site -- www.vogls.com -- with regular updates on Addie's progress and donation information.

To contact Steve Peoples phone (401) 277-7459 or e-mail SPeoplesATprojo.com