Sunday, March 15, 2009

Handsome Boy update!

First, I should apologize for everyone who looks at the blog waiting for an update... I have struggled to get back to this regularly. I will try to make up for some lost time here with a good update and Jack's recent portraits...

So, here is the handsome guy in his recent pictures from school. I think these are the best pictures of Jack and was so tickled when I saw them that I bought the whole entire package!

Okay, now for an update on what has happened since the last post. Overall, Jack recovered easily from the surgery. This was definitely easier than the first two surgeries. He was basically back to preschool within two weeks and I was not worried about him. The patch of skin on his left ear that was wrinkled and replaced has healed nicely. It is still a bit discolored, but it looks like it will be a big improvement.

Here is a picture of Jack from Dec 31, 2008:

You can see that he quickly healed and the projection of the left ear had already reduced...

Next I will attach some pictures of Jack's ears from tonight:

As far as the projection of his ears, it appears as though the skin grafts have shrunk again behind his left ear (even though this graft was a full thickness graft taken from him tummy and was less likely to shrink). This has pulled his left ear into his head almost back to where it was prior to this surgery. I believe that the projection on the right ear is actually a little better and the wrinkling behind his ear is slightly improved. It will still take some time for this to heal and soften.

It is my belief that this shrinkage is really just how Jack heals. Some people are just more prone to this problem and unfotunately, Jack happens to be one of them. I don't think it would have mattered what surgery approach we chose, we would have encountered this problem.

We met with Dr. Roberson and Dr. Rienisch early in March (on a Sunday evening prior to their joint surgery day in Palo Alto). It was so kind of them to see Jack on a Sunday evening which helped us avoid another weekday trip to Palo Alto and waiting for them to be able to see him around the surgery times...

First, Jack has had a persistent ear infection/cough thing that started with an allergy/cold problem that has been going on for a while. In late January, Dr. Roberson gave us amoxicillan that knocked it back a bit, but did not get rid of it. He gave us Augmentin and that has completely cleared Jack up. His cough is gone, his appetite is back and his nose is no longer congested. I am hoping we can stay ahead of the allergies next time they strike and treat them before it winds up in an infection again...

Next, we discussed the narrowing of Jack's left ear canal. Dr. Reinisch believes that it may be partly due to the implant shifting downward a little a pinching off the ear canal. I could see when he pushed the implant up slightly that the canal indeed opened up a bit. The rigid plug that we were using before definitely opened the canal. However, Dr. Reinisch is concerned with the rigid plug injuring the medpor implant. We agreed to try to soften the skin and potential scarring by using a steroid ointment and a soft sponge like plug. The plug is like an expandable sponge. I dip it in some ointment and place it in Jack's ear canal as far as I can. We have been doing this nightly for about 11 days. I think it has opened the canal slightly. I emailed the doctors tonight to determine next steps. I will post again as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, Jack is still in his speech preschool and is also getting one on one speech therapy once a week for about 45 min. I am thrilled to report that his drooling is nearly gone. This is a really big deal for Jack as I believe the social stigma of his lack of control over his saliva was beginning to cause problems for him. In addition, his speech continues to improve. His brain gets ahead of his speech skills quite often and he really needs to slow down and complete all the sounds in a word sometimes, but overall, he is still making great progress. I attribute this to his speech preschool and the therapist that his helping him privately.

I think that is a pretty good update for recent events. I am hoping that things calm down a bit at work and I can post more frequently. I will close with a photo of all the kids being goofy: