Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Visit to the Plastic Surgeon to Discuss Cleft Palate Repair

We went to Children's Hospital to meet with the Plastic Surgeon.   Our appointment was with Dr. Jackson.  I was a little nervous because I was recommended by other moms to see Dr. Low.  When I called to make the appointment I couldn't get in with him until sometime in February.  We really wanted to get the ball rolling and at least start to get her surgery lined up.  After looking Dr. Jackson  up she is one of the heads of the cleft team.  That right there told me that she would be fine to go to.  When I called the office they told me she is wonderful and she is a mom too.  We discussed the doctors and decided to go ahead and at least get her advice and see how the appointment went. 

When we walked into the hospital I was not prepared for what was next.  We checked in and they gave me paperwork to fill out.  You got it!  The good old medical history form.  This was the first time I was handed this form to fill out.  And right there as I looked at it....It hit me.  I really don't know anything about her history, if she was early, if there were any complications, her family's medical history etc.  A piece that will always be  missing.  I felt really sad looking at this paper.  I didn't really expect to feel this but they are pieces that we do not have answers for.  I almost initially started filling out "our" family history but obviously that would not have been accurate.  So I just left it blank.  I know this will not be the first time I will have to look at one of these.  It just reminds me that there are pieces that will always be unknown.  I forget sometimes that she was adopted.  I look at her and almost forget she is Asian. She just feels like my own.  Like one of us. 

I remained in prayer and just really tried to seek what the Lord wanted for us.  I prayed that I would feel calm and really see signs that Dr. Jackson was supposed to be her surgeon.  My mother in law came with me to the appointment because Daddy had to work.  Since he started his new job, he didn't want to ask off and I agreed.  It was such a blessing to have her there.  She was so helpful from helping me carry all of the "gear" to taking notes throughout the entire appointment.  We walked into the appointment and we first met with a nurse practitioner Meg who I had seen a few years ago when my daughter had plastic surgery on her face to have a lump removed.  I remembered her and how honest she was at our first appointment.  We walked in and of course we had a list of questions that she answered for us.  She took a look at Piper and told us that looking at her she was really pleased with her lip repair that was done in Ch*na.  They did a fantastic job.  We showed her the pictures of her before surgery and then after and she said that it looked like it was an American Surgeon that performed the lip repair.  She could tell by the pictures and the items they used to close the wounds and keep her nose openings opened.  It was really reassuring to hear that her lip repair was done really well.  I have heard of others that have had repairs done in country and they were not done well and had to have more surgeries done.  Meg informed us that Dr. Jackson is an excellent surgeon.  Dr. Low is going to be retiring in approximately 6-8 years.  That was also helpful for me to know because I wanted to choose the Dr who would be taking care of my daughter from here on out until  she is 17 or 18 years old.  I would love for her to have the same doctor following her care.  Here are some pictures of Piper playing with the mirrors while we waited for the doctor.

The doctor came in.  She was so nice.  Piper immediately went up to Dr. Jackson and she wanted her to pick her up.  That was comforting for me.  She took a look at her and explained that she would perform her first surgery which would be the cleft palate repair.  She also explained that she has 3 clefts.  She had a cleft lip, cleft palate and also a third cleft where the gaps are in between her front few teeth.  When she is 5-7 years old she will have to have another surgery where they will take bone marrow from her hip and put it in the gaps so that the bone will fuse together with the bone your teeth need to come in.  She may have teeth there or she will need teeth put in later on.  Right now there are baby teeth coming through.  Here is a picture of what she was describing.  Here opening in her palate is all the way open to her nasal cavity.  You can see her nasal cavity when you look in.  That is the piece in the center. 

Next she explained the cleft palate surgery.  She explained that they would do floating cuts along each side of her mouth, stretch skin to fix her palate and she would have stitches down the middle of her mouth.  In the back of her mouth she would take the muscles and realign them to be the right way.  Instead of going // \\ she would align them to be more like = =.  She would have more stitches in the back of her mouth but they would be zig zagged so that a straight line would not pucker.  Just like you would do in sewing.  Here is a picture to describe what she is talking about.

She would be overnight for 1-3 days depending on her pain and if she is ready to drink.  She originally thought she may need to do two surgeries to repair her palate but after looking at her she was pretty confident that she could repair it in one surgery.  After discussing the surgery she asked me if I had any questions.  I told her I had a list of questions that Meg had answered.  She grabbed the list and started answering the questions again.  I was so impressed with her taking the time to go over everything again.  After discussing everything we set surgery up for January 23rd.  

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