Two and a Half Days in Nashville

You may be thinking, a trip to  Nashville in the middle of February is a little unusual.  Calling this trip "a little unusual" is a bit like calling this past winter snowy.  I'll tell you more about some of the unusual and fun things we did, but for now let me explain why we went in the first place.  It is because a sweet, sweet doctor offered to perform surgery on Cokie for free.  When Cokie was first operated on in China, the doctors used skin from her scalp as grafts for her burned legs.  They were certain that taking the skin from her head wouldn't cause Cokie problems later in life, but they were wrong.  Mind you, I'm not being critical.  Given the extent of Cokie's burns the doctors in China were operating under intense pressure just to save her life.  But as Cokie has gotten older, the grafts that were taken from her head have caused hair growth problems.  Dr. Coleman, a great surgeon and a wonderful man, has done a number of surgeries on Cokie.  For years, Dr. Coleman was head of the burn and plastic surgery units at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.  He stepped down as chair of those departments recently, but he still does surgeries for Cokie and Bret.  After Cokie's most recent surgery, he suggested we talk to a surgeon he went through residency with who is one of the top hair transplant specialists in the country.  Dr. Coleman's friend, Dr. Fisher, is in Nashville, Tennessee, so we were pretty sure there would be insurance problems, if we could even get insurance to cover anything.  But I called Dr. Fisher anyway, hoping for the best.  He told me not to worry about anything--he would do the surgery and didn't want to wait by fooling around with insurance.  Needless to say, Mike and I were stunned.

The day before we were to head down to Nashville, Dr. Fisher's office asked if we would object to a local news station doing a story about Cokie and Dr. Fisher.  We talked with Cokie about it, and she was in, so our adventure got even more exciting.


Here is Cokie with the reporter, Adrianne Flores.  Adrianne was very professional and also very nice.  A link to the video of the news story is at the bottom of this post.


I can't even begin to tell you how well Dr. Fisher's staff treated Cokie and us!  Everyone was so sweet.  Michelle, who is standing directly behind Cokie, made everything so easy for us. 

These are Cokie's hair follicles that would be transplanted into parts of Cokie's scalp where no hair is growing.  First Dr. Fisher removed skin with hair follicles intact from the back of Cokie's head where she has plenty of hair to spare.  These ladies then removed the follicles from the skin.  While Dr. Fisher was removing the skin, Cokie was watching movies from Netflix.  I was in the room at this point.  Cokie's head was numbed and she had been given pain medicine.  She barely flinched a couple of times.

Cokie got to check out the follicles under the microscope before Dr. Fisher transplanted them into her scalp.

The whole process was amazing! DSCN8489

Here Cokie was done, but moving a little slow.  For the most part she seemed to be enjoying herself.  She was on pain medicine, and they ordered pizza (she got to choose).  Dr. Fisher and his team were a lot of fun and seem like they all genuinely enjoy one another.  Cokie is a pretty fun-loving girl herself, and I think she enjoyed the little party they had for her!

Headed back to the hotel--with her iPod closeby of course.


This morning Dr. Fisher wanted to see Cokie again and give her one last check over.  As we were just about to walk out the door, Cokie asked him if they could take a "selfie" together with her iPod.  He was happy to oblige.  Like Dr. Coleman, I think Dr. Fisher is somewhat taken with Cokie.  He told her that he didn't know of too many 11 year olds that could handle the surgery he performed on her as well as she did.  He also said, "You did so well that when you get old I'll give you a free face lift!"  Hey, too bad I can't take him up on that!!!

Click above to watch the story Channel 4 in Nashville ran about Cokie.