Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It has been quite a while since we last posted.  Lauren has been doing very well and as time has passed, it has been easier to forget about everything she has been through.  In July, we were able to attend the Microtia/Atresia conference in Long Beach, California.  This conference was similar to what we attended 5 years ago.  This conference was critical to our decision making.  It was great to be able to attend and meet with all the doctors again.  Our primary goal was to see Dr. Lewin and also meet with Dr. Hammoudeh.  He is a plastic surgeon that focuses on the jaw.  For the past couple of years since Lauren has had jaw distraction surgery, we have been working with our Orthodontist, Dr. Yamishiro,  at Primary Children's Hospital to help with her bite, widening her upper jaw, and lengthening the lower jaw.

After meeting with Dr. Hammoudeh, we came away very relieved.  We were worried she may need additional distraction surgery for her jaw.  We came prepared with some x-rays and scans that he requested. After reviewing them, he felt that she would not require any surgery at this time.  He wanted to speak with Dr. Yamishiro and work out a plan for her in the next few years.  He feels we can still do more with orthodontics to aid her in straightening our her jaw.   He does feel she will need braces soon and she may have to wear braces for up to 5 years.   It was wonderful to see two doctors work together to come up with a plan for Lauren and to do what is best for her.

We were also glad to meet with Dr. Lewin.  We haven't seen her in a while.  She says that Lauren's ear is doing very well, but we thought she may need a revision.  Dr. Lewin agreed. The small triangular part of the ear that covers the ear canal has drifted slightly.  The tragus as it is called looks like it needs to be repositioned and her ear may need to be rotated.  She feels the revision surgery would be about 3 hours. We will now have to decide when we would like to have this surgery done as well as make sure our insurance will cover it.  It is not a pressing need right now, but we may try to do it sooner than later.

As Lauren has gotten older she has become more aware of her ear and is sometimes self-conscious. However, I think that is just because of her getting older and closer to becoming a teenager.  No one ever really notices her ear
and all her friends are very supportive of her.

The rest of the conference was great. We met some great families and some very cute kids.  I wasn't expecting it, but it was much more emotional for us than I thought it would be.  I think just being there, thinking back 5 years ago from the time we were first there brought back a lot of memories.  It seems like so long ago, but we are grateful to have been there and we feel we made the right decisions. If anyone out there has questions about this blog, Lauren, or her journey, please let us know.

The photo above is Lauren, her sister Kara, and Derrick Coleman.  Derrick is an NFL football player for the Seattle Seahawks. He has been deaf since the age of 3.  Dr. Lewin invited him to come to the conference and meet the kids. He signed autographs, took photos, and played with the children.  He is a great role model and is an amazing person.

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