Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kaitlyn's Face Surgery

We have to decide if we're going to do Kaitlyn's face surgery right now or if we're going to wait until she's older. The problem she has is that her maxilla (upper jaw) isn't growing, but her mandible (lower jaw) and forehead are. The result is that the middle part of her face is "sinking" for lack of a better word. She has a pretty serious under bite right now and also has sleep apnea that is caused by a small airway as a result of this problem. We're going to try c-pap to see if it helps the apnea, but I highly doubt we're going to be able to get her to keep the mask on her face all night. She just doesn't seem like the type that will cooperate with that (she's a stubborn little stinker - nothing at all like her mother! He he he he).

They will fix the problem by surgically attaching a device to her head that will attach to her maxilla. This will be cranked forward a few millimeters at a time until it is in the correct position.
The problem with the procedure is that it is very invasive, painful, and will keep her out of school for several months. Here's a picture of the device:

So obviously I can't send her to school while she has the device on. This will kill her because she loves school, but with the problems we had last year I'm not all that upset about homeschooling her for a few months. It may, however, drive me crazy. We'll see.

So we have to decide if we're going to do the surgery now, while she's still young and will hopefully forget all about it, or when she's older and better equipped to handle it mentally. If we don't do the surgery at all the problem will continue to get worse, and she could (and probably would) end up looking like she got punched in the face (along with her sleep apnea getting worse and possibly life threatening).

I hate having to make decisions like this, because I just don't know what the right thing to do is. Part of me can't bear to put my baby through this procedure, and part of me knows it has to be done. I'm talking to her orthodontist right now about the possibility of using a device at night that will prevent her from getting worse until she's older (around 16) and can have a different procedure that is less stressful and more internal (although it's also more painful and more invasive and may not work as well). I haven't heard back from the orthodontist to see what he thinks about it, but that may be an option.

The biggest problem is that she has horrible behavior being attributed to ADHD. We haven't been able to control her ADHD, and now I'm wondering if the behavior is being caused by sleep apnea instead of ADHD. If we can't get her to wear c-pap, or if she's just going to get worse and worse until c-pap doesn't really help her, we'll have to do the surgery no matter what.

Sigh. The things they don't tell you about when you sign up to be a parent...

1 comment:

Eric said...

Why are all of my friends faced with utterly impossible choices all of the time? It makes me sad. And it makes me wish my friends were smarter. :-(

Handsome Eric