Plastic surgeon visit.

Yesterday was H. and K.'s visit to the cleft team. I really like the team and am glad I switched K. to the same plastic surgeon that H. is seeing. It's a lot less crazy-making for me. But I know what everyone is waiting to hear is what the plan is.

Well, it looks as though I was correct in my pronouncement that 2013 would be the year of facial surgeries. Probably more correctly would be it is the first of several years of facial surgeries, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We'll just stick with the coming year.

So for K. No one thinks that he will need a bone graft surgery for another couple of years. (Hooray!) He will be able to continue to make dolphin noises by pushing air through the opening that goes between his gum and his nose. He is happy because he really likes to be able to make dolphin noises. But the plastic surgeon would really like to do a nose and lip revision on K. in the fall. He had a decent repair of his lip in Vietnam, but I have been aware that as he's grown the scar and slightly flattened nose have become more obvious. The surgeon just wants it done in the next year, so we'll be able to space it out from H.'s surgery.

Yes, H.'s surgery. Well, the first thing to do is to get the neurologist's OK that H. can safely have surgery when we see him later this month. Since the seizures are still not 100% under control, it is the neurologist's decision what the time frame is for beginning surgeries. If he gives the go ahead, we are looking at starting H.'s facial repairs in the spring. Initially the repairs will be done in two parts. The first part will be this spring and the surgeon will address the cheek area. He wants to remove all excess tissue, reshape her mouth, remove the nevi on her cheek, and possible remove any bone overgrowth on her cheek in necessary.

Then after that all heals, the next surgery would address the forehead and top of skull. The surgeon figures that there will be things that need a slight readjustment in the cheek area and he will fix those at that time as well. His goal is to make her face symmetrical and seems quite confident that he will be able to do that. I have seen some of the facial repairs he has done on other children and I think his confidence is justified.

It is exciting to think about this little girl being given the gift of a face which appears "normal". But I have to say I have a little bit of me that has some mixed feelings about both children's surgeries. Surgery is a major step at any time. And J. and I have talked about how when we look at our children we don't see the imperfections, but we just see our children. What their face or mouth looks like is pretty secondary and not what we think about a lot.

In fact, I remember when we only had pictures of K. before his lip repair. I became very used to seeing him with his big smile and actually thought he was pretty cute. It was such a shock when we received the first picture after the lip repair. At first it didn't look like the little boy we had grown to love. We eventually adjusted, but it surprised me how at first I actually preferred his cleft lip.

I'm sure that's how it will be after these next surgeries. We don't need these surgeries to be done in order for us to love our children more. But we do love them and so I know that this is the right thing to. I don't relish the process, though.

We go back to the plastic surgeon in January to talk details, so I can put off dreading the whole thing for a little while longer.

And because children's surgeries are not much fun to dwell on, how about I leave you with funny pictures of G. and L.? They wanted to be butterflies this morning, so A. gave them antennea. She didn't think of adding wire until she did L.'s hair which explains why only one set is standing up.




My little girls are three. Does anyone else see anything wrong with the difference between them and little SIX year old Brandi?

Now, why is this darling little girl still waiting? It couldn't be because someone has given her the worst haircut in the world, could it? Use your imagination a little and visualize pigtails on her. I've noticed that little girls with pigtails done for their picture are always the ones that are scooped up first. So, picture pigtails. She would be super cute with them... not that she isn't cute now.

This is Brandi. She is 6 years old. She lies in her crib and waits and waits and waits for someone to scoop her up and tell her how loved she is. Just imagine a grin on her face, her hair allowed to grow out. Imagine how transformed she will look when she is loved. Pray that she doesn't have to wait too much longer for her parents to find her.


Rebecca Gallo said…
Yes, it is a bit strange when the face is different but the person isn't. My sister had her jaw broken and aligned properly in her early 40's as it was affecting her breathing and sleeping (and chewing). She definitely looks different and it is still slightly odd for me to see her with a different face than the one I grew up with! (Probably because I only see her once a couple of years - she lives in France). It's not a negative feeling, just...well, odd!

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