Thursday, December 10, 2009
Grandpa Ottley hasn't been back to work the past few weeks. His shortness of breath is gone, but he has had pain in his arm and hand again. He visited the neurologist this week and he seems to have some nerve inflammation that can only be improved with surgery. He meets with a neurosurgeon next week for a consultation. The surgery is an outpatient surgery and shouldn't be much of recovery period. Sounds like he should feel improvement immediately.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Lauren has been doing wonderful. She is healing well and hasn't been slowed down at all. We had the expander fitted back into her mouth and she'll have to wear that for another month or two. We are planning to have a CT scan done here locally for her jaw in the upcoming month. We want to send this to Dr. Urata in California to get his opinion of her jaw distraction. He did see her in his office when Lauren was having the surgery last month. He felt that he would probably wait to distract again for a couple years unless we are able to fix it orthodontic ally. Other than that, things with her will slow down a bit. We will continue to post photos of her to show the progress of the healing to her ear.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Lauren had an appointment with Dr. Yamashiro at Primary Children's Hospital so that she could be fitted for another expander device that will be put in to place next week. I am not sure how long she will have to wear it this time. This is the same device she had to wear earlier in the year. It is a bit uncomfortable for her but she adjusts pretty quickly to it. Her ear is healing nicely and we will continue to monitor it and send pictures to Dr. Lewin so she can evaluate them.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Lauren has been doing great. She has all her bandages off and is back to school. She had a field trip today to the new hospital in Riverton. I don't think it was too exciting for her given all the hospitals she has been at this year. The teacher wanted to take the class there so that they would know that it isn't a scary place. As for now, we are just going to be sending photos to Dr. Lewin every few weeks and make sure that she is healing well.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Lauren returned back home last night and is doing well. The doctor examined her yesterday and felt that everything is looking great. She has a protective cup over her ear that she must wear for 5 days. She will probably be able to go back to pre-school tomorrow. This should be the last surgery for this year. She may need additional jaw distraction in the future and will also have some orthodontic work done to help with the jaw as well.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Lauren is going to Disneyland today. Mom doesn't want to overdue it with her so we will see how she does.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Lauren is also doing well. She is still a bit gimpy after the surgery but she was able to go to a movie today with mom. Tomorrow they are going to try a day at Disneyland. Friends of ours are down there so it will be good for them to meet up. They will be coming home Wednesday night. She has one more doctor's appointment on Wednesday afternoon in Beverly Hills.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Lauren is recovering well after surgery. She was a bit sore yesterday and mostly stayed at the hotel. We hope she rebounds quick enough that she may be able to go to Disneyland for at least one of the days.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
As for Lauren, her surgery was a success yesterday. Dr. Lewin was very happy that the infection was not a problem and she could complete everything she wanted to do in Stage II. She repositioned Lauren's ear and placed new skin grafts over the framework. There were two graft sites she took from. One from her other ear and another from her stomach. The stomach area will be the most painful for her in the next two days and they have given her a device that pumps local anesthetic to the area for the next few days. They also gave her some fat injections around her cheek and jaw to even out her symmetry. They had a hard time finding any fat from her stomach to use for the injection. Lucky her. She also was able to finally get her ears pierced. All in all it was a long day for Becky and Lauren.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Lauren is currently at the hospital in Beverly Hills and will be going in for surgery soon. Dr. Lewin's mentor Dr. Reinisch examined her yesterday and feels like what she has is not an infection but rather a pocket that developed with her skin graft. This is good news because it may mean she won't need any additional surgery and that the Stage II procedure can be fully completed. It will all depend on how well the surgery goes and what Dr. Lewin would like to do going forward. The surgery is scheduled for 10:45 AM Utah time and should be about 4 hours. I will try to put an update on here later with the results.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
As for Lauren, I got word from Becky that her and Lauren arrived safely and checked into their hotel room. They are 3 miles from Disneyland so I think Lauren is anxious to go again. Lauren got sick on the flight because of the antibiotics she was prescribed to take and didn't have much of a breakfast to wash it down. Dr. Lewin at the appointment was much more positive about her situation now that she has seen her ear in person. She is feeling good that they have caught it early and will be able to treat it without replacement. She may still need another surgery in the future as a follow up, but they hope to do as much of the stage II procedure that they planned on. Lauren will meet with the doctors again tomorrow before she has the surgery on Friday. It should be about a 4 hours procedure on Friday.
Grandpa Ottley update is not good news. He has continued to be delirious and was not making improvements. They did a CT scan yesterday and found that he has suffered a stroke. We don't yet know how severe or what this means to his recovery. The neurologist will review the scan today and I hope to have more information after that. The nurses said he didn't sleep much again last night. When I left last night, his eyes were closed and he seemed to be sleeping but the rest of his body couldn't stay still. He looked much more exhausted. He isn't speaking as much now which may be a cause of lack of sleep.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
As for Lauren, we got a surprise last night as well. Her ear looks like it is infected. The doctor told us to call right away if we saw any signs. We called Dr. Lewin and she wants to move her October 23rd surgery up to this Friday. There is concern that maybe during the last surgery for her jaw two weeks ago she picked up an infection. We are frantically making travel plans. Due to everything that has happened, Becky will be taking Lauren to California and I will stay behind. She will be there with her from the 7th through the 14th. The surgery is scheduled for the 9th.
We are asking any friends or family to fast this Sunday for Grandpa Ottley. We would also like to include Lauren now as well.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
So, after meeting with doctors today, and after a couple x-rays, they want to place a bone stint on her jaw which will move over what was pushed and will lengthen her jaw. They will need a mold on Monday and will do surgery Tuesday. They have to do it quick while the bone is still soft and easy to work with. We asked why the distraction didn't work. They couldn't confirm anything with the x-rays. They said it could be many things, but they think either one of the brackets on the device were loose because young bone is soft, or her bone was not filling in where they had hoped. Pretty much it can't be verified until they go in surgically.
After the next jaw surgery the bummer is her jaw will be wired and she will be on fluids for FOUR WEEKS! That will be the hardest part I am sure. They say it won't be as painful and the surgery will be 2-3 hours. So here we go again. This is not what we were planning on, but we will survive. Lauren is great and never complains. We will update everyone as things transpire. Thanks to all of you for your love and support.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Lauren is swollen from the surgery and can barely open her mouth. She has some bleeding and draining from the surgery but it should stop after a couple days. For the next few weeks, she will have a small tube that comes out the bottom of her jaw. This is what we use to attach the wrench to and turn daily. We will do the first turning on Saturday. We will give it three complete turns every day. This should apply enough pressure to lengthen the jaw bone 1 MM per day. Once the jaw has gotten to the desired length, we will stop turning and the tube will be removed. The small internal plates that were attached to the jaw will remain with her always. They say it usually doesn't cause further problems, but if they do, they can be removed. It just requires another surgery. Lauren is still a trooper although you can tell this causes her more discomfort than the previous surgeries.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Today we removed Lauren's bandages and protective cup covering the ear. From here on out, she doesn't need the protection. She will still need to keep the area moist as the skin graft continues to heal. The area where the graft was taken is also healing well and her hair is already growing back. We sent some pictures back to Dr. Lewin for her to review. I have included some of those pictures here as well. It really looks amazing and it will continue to get better every day.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
So, as far as Lauren's ear, we will leave the bandages on for one more week and then we just have to keep it super moisturized over the next couple months. Her ear is still swollen and it will take over the next several months for the swelling to go down and for the ear to become more defined. We think it is beautiful and are amazed every day at the modern medical miracles.
Now on to the next surgery. It will be on July 28 and will be on her jaw to lengthen it a bit. We are so happy it will be here in Salt Lake City. Thank You so much to family and friends who have helped us in so many ways! Without all of your support we would not have been able to get through this.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Wow..5 days of Disney is about the limit. I think we did almost everything Disney has to offer. It has been a good trip for Lauren. Today she would not rest until she saw Minnie again and gave her a flower she found. We mostly just went on any rides that Lauren wanted to do again. She also picked out some gifts for her brother and sister to give to them when we return tomorrow. We visit with Dr. Lewin tomorrow afternoon and then head to the airport. Dr. Lewin will be taking off the bandages and dressing. They will be able to wash Lauren's hair for the first time in a week. This will be the first opportunity to see her new ear. Well big ear. We tell her that her little ear grew. She asked us today how old Cameron was when his ears grew. They will then bandage her back up and place the protective cup back over the ear. Becky will fly back with her on the 20th of this month to have the bandage changed again as well as do another check of the ear and how it is healing. Dr. Lewin said that no further visits will be needed but she would like to have pictures sent each week to evaluate her progress. She says a picture is worth a thousands words to her. It looks like leaving comments on here is easier now. Sorry for the issues.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A few of you have mentioned it has been difficult to save comments. I have gone in and found some setting changes that should make that easier. Before I guess you had to register for a google account. Now, you should be able to add comments under anonymous or under name and it should work. We do appreciate the comments and support. Lauren I know appreciates it as well. Today we spent another day in Disney. One more day to go. I think we have done about everything. We saw all the parades they had to offer today. Lauren was intent on giving a flower to Minnie Mouse today, but we couldn't find Minnie to give it to her. We celebrated Mother's day the best we could for Becky. I think we missed out in the morning, but we think Disneyland gave out flowers to all Mother's that came into the park today. Becky was also greeting with a Happy Mother's Day from all the cast members in the park. She was a bit saddened that the other two kids weren't here to share it with her. However, she did get a phone call and talked to Cameron and Kara. To cheer her up, we went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. As Becky will admit, good food is one of the greatest gifts you can give her. Lauren is still doing very well. I think she is starting to slow down a bit, but so are we. We are anxious to get home soon.
The day was filled with Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Fireworks, and more rides. We even got Lauren to go on the Tower of Terror. She was not tall enough to go on a lot of the bigger rides last time we were here. We thought it may be too much for her, but she made it through unscathed. Any rides that throw her around side to side we worry a bit because we don't want her to hit her head. This ride was more up and down, so I think the concern was if she was going to be too scared to go on it rather than being in danger of hurting herself. She didn't scream or cry. She just closed her eyes and held onto us. If you ask her if she wants to go again, she says no. Just like her brother. But at least she can say she has been on a grown up ride. We are having a lot of fun but are missing home and the rest of the family. We can't wait to get home next week.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Our second day at Disneyland was spent trying to meet as many characters as possible. Lauren wanted to meet Minnie Mouse ever since she got here. She was very excited and antsy waiting in line to get her autograph and give her a hug. She is healing well. There is still some bleeding from the area where they took the skin graft and the stocking cap she has to wear makes her head itchy. Lauren is also a bit more swollen today than previously, but the doctor said that is normal. She doesn't complain though and she has gotten used to wearing it. Tomorrow should be another full day of adventure for her and us. We are going to California Adventure tomorrow and maybe back over to Disneyland in the evening for fireworks.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Five days down, Five more to go. Today was pretty uneventful. In more ways than one. But overall, Lauren is doing fine. Not much to report. We took her to Disneyland today and had a good time. We went on all the rides she wanted to go on and we plan to do more tomorrow. I think she really misses not having her brother or sister there to share this with them. We were given what I like to call the "golden ticket". It allows us to go on any ride and not have to wait in the lines. They put us right on. It is fantastic. The best part of the day however, was during dinner. We were eating at a restaurant and Lauren saw that many kids there were playing with balloons. Well, this made her want one. We were seated by the exit and a family that was leaving walked past us. There was one young girl that was around seven years old that was carrying a balloon and she glanced over at Lauren and saw all the bandages she had over her head. She waved to Lauren and walked out with her family. A few seconds later, she came right back in the door and walked up to us and gave Lauren her balloon. I was stunned and didn't know what to say. We attempted to thank her and she ran back out the door. That was awesome to see and Lauren was very grateful.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Today we had our first check up after the surgery. Lauren has been doing well and has little pain. The only medication we have given her is antibiotics to make sure she does get an infection. The appointment today was to remove the two drains that were placed during the surgery. They we placed to help remove fluid underneath the new ear as it healed. We were told the removal of the drains would be painful, and it was. This was the first time we have seen Lauren cry throughout all of this. Although it was quick to slide them out, the area is very tender and I am sure it hurt. Once they were gone, the pain subsided quickly. The doctor was very happy with her progress so far and told us some things to look for until the next appointment. She has had very little swelling and any bruising she has had is on her back from laying on the operating table for so long.
The rest of the day we spent in Beverly Hills and Hollywood. We took pictures at the Hollywood Walk of Fame and at Graumann's Chinese Theater. We also bought a map that showed locations of all the star's homes and we drove past a few. It is hard to see them because of the trees and hedges surrounding them. Very interesting places though. We have returned to the hotel and plan to rest after our long day. Tomorrow we will try to go to Disneyland. Lauren is excited and we think it will be a great way to reward her for this whole trip. We are going to try and get a stroller for her so she won't have to exert herself too much by walking around the park. Our next doctor's appointment won't be until next Tuesday, which is the day we head back home. Not sure there will be much more to update with her progress until then. That should be the first day we get to see her new ear. The dressing will be changed again and we will finally get to wash her hair. In the meantime, she has a new stocking to wear over her head and it gives her a cute ponytail out of the top.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
We have made it back to the hotel. We were with Lauren in the recovery room for a little over an hour. She acted very much like she did after the first surgery. She was disoriented and didn't understand what was covering her head. She kept trying to pull off all the tubes and wires that were hooked to her. However, she didn't seem to cry or be in much pain. She slowly started to come around and we even got her to smile. She complained of her back hurting a bit but we think it was from laying down for such a long time in surgery. She has a big mesh stocking cap that goes over her head and down her neck. The face is the only thing cut out. I think she looks like a cute white tele-tubby.
I was joking when I said we would see a celebrity here. Especially since this seems to be a major hospital. But we have famed NFL/sports announcer Al Michaels sitting in the waiting room with us. All indications is he is here to see a new baby. Not sure if he is a new grandfather..more to come.
"Do you believe in miracles!?! Yes!!"
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Afterwards, we went to have breakfast and hang out at the ocean in Manhattan Beach. Around noon, the weather started turning really warm. We had a good time and I think it was Lauren's first time playing in the water. We built sand castles, checked out the local aquarium, and just took in the sun.
Later in the afternoon, we checked into our room in Anaheim. The room is very nice and we got a great deal. Thanks Priceline!! We are very close to Disneyland and we hope that after a few days of recovery, we will be able to take Lauren to the "Happiest Place on Earth." We had a nice dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant and came back to hit the pool.
While we were soaking in the hot tub, I got a chance to watch just how strong Lauren has been in this journey so far. As we were in the hot tub, three younger girls came and sat down next to Lauren. They were all older than her but varied in ages. Because Lauren's hair was wet, the girls noticed her birth defect right away. They couldn't help to look. I didn't feel like they were being cruel, but rather they were just curious. What affected me the most was that Lauren didn't shy away or act insecure in any way. She just looked at them as if she was trying to say hello and be their friend. All I kept thinking about was after tomorrow, she wouldn't have to endure the casual looks or answer questions about her condition. She knows why she is here and she isn't afraid. If you ask her why we are here in California, she says that she is going to see the Doctor to make her little ear grow. Although she still has a ways to go, she has been a trooper through everything and I don't see her changing in the future.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In less than 2 weeks we will be traveling to California again for the Medpor surgery. This will be at the Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. We will be there for a total of 10 days. The surgery will be on day 2 and the rest of the time will be for recovery and checkup visits. We may try to take her to Disneyland if she is up to it after the surgery. The doctor says many families will make the trip there. The hospital has given us a letter requesting for preferential treatment for her visit to Disneyland to make it as comfortable for her as possible. This may mean no lines for her and us. I know she would really enjoy going if she can. Although her brother and sister won't be there to share it with her. We thank everyone for their support and assistance in making this trip possible for her. This will be one of the bigger steps in her journey thus far.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
In the test, she is put into a sound proof room with an audio gram technician to instruct her what to do. Another technician will be outside and control the test. In the first exam she had, they started her out by having her repeat certain words. Then they played a game with her to see if she could hear different tone levels. She was told if she could hear the "birdie" noise, she was to throw a colored ball into a basket. After the first test, she scored at or below 15 decibels at all frequencies on her good side and was around 60-70 decibels on her other side. The goal of the surgery is to improve her hearing to at or below 30 decibels.
The results from the second test showed much improvement. In two particular frequency ranges she improved by 50%. She was at or close to the 30 decibel level. However, in the higher frequency ranges, she scored lower than before the surgery. This was a concern for us, but after speaking with the doctor in California, he felt it wasn't anything to be worried about. He would however like to test her hearing again in a month. Usually the next test wouldn't be until four months out, but he wants to make sure that the areas she decreased in are checked. He mentioned that she may still have some undissolved packing that could be behind her new ear drum as to why there was a decrease. Overall, he was encouraged that she made good improvements. So, the good news is she definitely has shown improvement and we are hopeful that with some additional healing, she will improve even more. As of now, all packing has been removed from the ear and we no longer have to use the ear drops with her. She has been doing very well and we are planning to the make the next trip to California the first week in May for her outer ear reconstruction.
Friday, February 27, 2009
About a week ago Lauren was fitted with an expander placed inside her mouth. It is a lot like an upper retainer you would wear after having braces removed. Although this is much bulkier than a retainer. Every day we have to put a small key into it to turn the gears and tighten it. The expander is supposed to help straighten her upper jaw so that when they go to distract the bottom jaw, it will be even. Because this device is so bulky, it makes it awkward for her. She has difficultly speaking and eating with it in, but she is starting to adjust. Unfortunately, she may have to wear this for up to 6 months. It all depends on how soon she progresses with it. We met with another doctor this week who could perform the lower jaw distraction. He recommended finishing up with her ear surgeries and then the distraction could be done. It is sounding more and more like the jaw might be the most difficult of the surgeries because it is working on her bones. It is undecided how long she will need distraction. It also is just a matter of how long it takes for her jaw and bite to be where they want it.
Other than that, we are working on making travel plans for the Medpor surgery in May to construct her outer ear. We will be having the surgery at the Cedar Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills with Dr. Lewin. We were joking that we may see some celebrities at the hospital. They would be there for some touch up plastic surgery or Botox shots. We are seriously thinking about hitting Disneyland on our visit, but it all depends on how well Lauren feels after the surgery.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Today we took her to the orthodontic surgeon at Primary Children's Hospital to have her fitted for an upper palate expander. Her left lower jaw is slightly shorter than her right lower jaw. In July or August she will need jaw surgery. To prepare for this surgery her upper left jaw needs to be extended to prepare for the lengthening of her lower left jaw. This expander will help with this. It will be permanent for six months. It is not painful and almost looks like a retainer. She is excited that they will be making a special PINK one just for her.
Thanks to all of you for your continuous support and interest. We are lucky to have such great family and friends. We will continue to update everyone as things happen.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
(This link will show photos of Lauren pre and post op. Some pictures are graphic)
We are home and Lauren is doing great! It is so suprising at how little pain she has had. We are looking forward to seeing Dr. Kelly our local ear doctor to remove her bandage over her skin graft on Friday. He will also trim some of the packing inside her new canal.
She will say out of the blue throughout the day, I HEAR MY EAR. As the packing is slowly removed Dr. Roberson said it will just get louder. It is very exciting.
We are already starting to look at the next surgery scheduled May 5. This surgery will be outer ear reconstruction. Dr. Lewin in Los Angeles will be doing this procedure. Lauren is already excited to see the "girl doctor" that we met in October. So here we go again. We will continue to update everyone on how she is doing.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We are on our way home. We are very excited to get home and Lauren is happy to see her brother and sister again. (Wow, Lauren just now decided to open up one of the security doors here in the Long Beach Airport and set off the alarm. That was really loud!!) Anyway, we met with Dr. Roberson this morning to remove the bandages. She kept them on throughout the night and seemed to get used to having them on. Surprisingly, they didn't need to put any new bandages to replace them. We thought they may dress it with a smaller bandage, but they just leave it open. The area they took the skin graft from has a bandage stitched in place, but the ear canal is layered with all kinds of packing. The only thing we have to do is place a small piece of cotton ball in the canal and it stays in place. She has not needed any medication for pain all day and she is very energetic. She had no trouble with pressure changes on the flight from San Jose to Long Beach.
We mentioned to Dr. Roberson that she told us several times that she can hear out of her new ear. He said he wouldn't be surprised by it. Although, he said the surgery was quit tricky and her anatomy made it difficult, he was optimistic with the results. Last night, Lauren asked Becky to listen to her new ear. Becky put her ear up to hers and Lauren asked her is she could hear what she was hearing. We told this to Dr. Roberson and like us, I think he teared up a bit. You can tell he really enjoys working with kids and loves what he does. He is amazing. He gave us instructions on how to proceed with her medication and activities for the next few weeks. Next week we will see an E.N.T. doctor in Draper and he will remove the first layer of packing and also the skin graft bandage. Dr. Roberson says that the skin graft area could heal as quickly as one week. In the meantime, we are just to give her some antibiotics and make sure she keeps the new ear canal clean and dry.
Well we hope there are no troubles on the way home. We had some difficulty with our Standby fight out of San Jose. They seemed to have processed our names incorrectly, but they fixed it and we boarded just in time. I don't anticipate any problems from here on out. Hope to see all of you soon.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Lauren slept through the night and didn't take off her new bandage wrap. She is starting to get used to it now but it does slide down over her eyes from time to time. We started her on the antibiotics that was prescribed by the doctor. She doesn't seem like she has been in any pain today so we haven't had to give her any medication. The doctor just recommended normal Tylenol if she needed it. She is in good spirits but just a bit tired. Overall, she is doing better than we both thought she would be doing. She even mentioned to us today that she can hear out of her new ear. We are hopeful that is the case. It would still be limited especially with so many bandages and packing in her new ear canal. Either way, she says she can hear which makes the trip here worth it. Again, we won't know for sure until she has another audio-gram in a couple months.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Lauren (40263) is still in the operating room and the update board hasn't changed. We have had the nurse call us twice to give us updates. Both were positive. The latest update they said they should be finishing up in another hour. Everything has gone as planned. The two concerns regarding the facial nerve and the middle ear bones have not been mentioned so we hope there hasn't been any problems there. We are assuming not. After the surgery, we will have to wait maybe another hour before we can see her.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Well we made it to California and we are excited to be here. We arrived yesterday with little trouble. Our standby flight went perfectly and we checked into our hotel room. They were very helpful and gave us everything we requested. We are in Fremont, California. It is about 15 miles from the Stanford Ambulatory Surgical Center. We have to cross the bay into Palo Alto to get to the hospital, but it should not take too much time getting over the bridge.
After our travel yesterday, we spent today mostly relaxing. The only appointment we had today was at the California Ear Institute for a pre-op meeting. Before the meeting, we spent a lot of the day around Stanford University to find out exactly where the surgery will take place. The weather has been bad all day. It has been overcast and drizzling rain. The locals said it has been very dry and warm until this week. I guess we brought the Utah weather with us.
During our appointment an audiologist gave Lauren a hearing test. We have had a few tests done before, but not here. They tested different decibel levels for both ears to graph her scores. Her non-affected ear scored very well and this is where they set the bar for her in regards to her normal hearing range. The other side, as expected was lower, but the doctor was surprised at how well she scored. In terms of numbers, she scored as low as 5-10 decibels on the normal side and 40-50 decibels on the Atresia/Microtia side. They said her scores are considerably good for a child with atresia.
After the testing, a Dr. Ort examined Lauren briefly. He may be one of the doctors assisting Dr. Roberson on Monday. He proceeded to explain the surgery and answered any questions we had. He told us of all the risks associated with the procedure. Foretunately, most of them seemed so rare it really eased a lot of our concerns. The procedure he described was exactly as Dr. Roberson explained to us at the conference in October. In all, the surgery should last about 2 1/2 hours. We were told that we must be at the hospital at 6:30 AM PST on Monday. The surgery is scheduled at 8:30 AM. She is not to eat anything after midnight the day before the surgery.
The doctor said that as soon as she regains consciousness after the surgery, she can be released from the hospital. He also said she should not feel too poorly after the surgery. She will be heavily bandaged for the first couple of days, but on Wednesday, the large bandage will be removed and we will be released to come home. They are not concerned about her flying home and they feel it is actually better for her to fly home this week than to wait. The protective packing and gel foam that they will use to plug the new ear canal will protect her during the trip. She must keep this packing in the new canal for three weeks. Some of the packing will be removed a little each week, but it won't be fully removed until after about a month. We have planned to have an E.N.T. doctor locally removing the packing. He was recommended by another family that had their daughter complete this surgery not too long ago. We will have to give her antibiotic drops into the new ear canal to prevent infection and occasionally change some outer dressing.
It is unknown how soon after the surgery we will know if it improves her hearing. It could be immediate or it could be a couple of months. After the packing has been removed and some healing has taken place, they will retest her hearing again to see what the improvement will be. However, I think we may be able to recognize that ourselves. There are two things that can't be determined until the surgery and that is the location and proximity of the facial nerve and the condition of the middle ear bones. Dr. Roberson, after reviewing the CT scan, doesn't feel like the nerve will be difficult to work around. However, if he does get in there and finds it will be a problem, he will stop immediately and will not continue if there is a danger of damage. The other is the condition of the middle ear. The doctor today said that in all Atresia cases, the middle ear bones are not fully formed. This is one of the main reasons she would never have 100% hearing in that ear. During the surgery they isolate the middle ear and check to see it's condition. If it is in a good working order, they will leave it to work as it should. If it is poor condition they could remove it and replace it with a titanium implant.
The new canal will be formed behind her Microtia ear. They will take a graph from some muscle tissue near this same location to use as the new ear drum. The top layer of skin from the back of the scalp will be used to graph in place for the new canal. It will be about a 3 inch by 3 inch area. The doctor said she won't have to lose too much hair and the rest of her hair should cover the graph area. Since this graph is the top layer of skin, it will not contain hair cells so they can use it for the ear canal. The rest of the pre-op visit we signed forms, completed paperwork, and worked out the financials.
Overall, Lauren is in great spirits. I think she will do fine. We are optimistic that the news will be positive after the surgery. The goal is to improve her hearing under the 30 decibel range. If this is possible, she will not need any hearing device in the future. It will never be as good as the non-affected side, but it would allow her to hear and develop normally. The rest of the weekend we are going to try and do some sightseeing if the weather permits.
We really miss the rest of the family and hope the other kids are doing well. Lauren really misses them. They are not here to play with her so we find we have to fill in and we don't have the same energy that Cameron or Kara have. I plan to try and put updates on here daily. Especially right after the surgery. We thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers.