Yesterday we had what probably was our final appointment before we move forward with surgery for a cochlear implant. We had a very informative meeting with the surgeon who will perform the surgery. It is quite the team who will be present for this surgery. Two to three neurosurgeons, the specialist who does the cochlear implants, and even the ENT who referred us to the specialist who practices six hours away! This ENT is so sweet and wanted to be there, even though she herself would not be performing the surgery.
As I’ve explained before, Chapel’s case is a special one and performing the typical cochlear implant surgery is a little too risky for her, as we do not want to compromise the facial nerve that is working on one side of her face. Her facial nerve actually blocks the route that surgeons typically take to put in a cochlear implant. There are only about ten places in medical literature that the route that will be used to place Chapel’s cochlear implant, has even been used to perform this specific surgery. This area is operated in daily, just not for placement of a cochlear implant. All of these surgeons frequent this area routinely but it is typically to remove tumors. They will go in under the lining of her brain, so there are some other risks, although very low, involved with going this way. But these risks are smaller than the potential risk of going in the classic way to place a cochlear implant, considering that they’d probably have to move her facial nerve to do it.
Chapel will be in the ICU for at least one day following this surgery and then probably about 3 more days for observation. The doctor is now working to coordinate this team and the surgery will take place at New Orleans Children’s Hospital where there is already an entire experienced team on hand for any potential emergency.
We’d greatly appreciate prayer for our little Chapel as we prepare for this surgery that we’ve prayerfully decided to move forward with to give her the option of hearing while verbal language development is at a critical place for action. The surgeon says the surgery should take place within two months. This kind’ve shifts some plans for at least half of our family in the next couple of months. We have already purchased tickets to travel as a family to Iquitos at Christmas to go serve with a ministry we support there that ministers to orphans and those living on the streets. So if this surgery is scheduled as soon as the surgeon is saying, at least my smallest Reedlings and I will not be making that trip- and I seriously pray we can get a refund in those tickets! Please, Lord! Another factor is that even if the trip were to fall right before the surgery, she cannot travel out of the country for 21 days prior to surgery and certainly cannot travel out of the country for a few months following surgery.
I am not quite sure about the other half of our family. When you are a family of our size, one parent is typically required to care for some kids while the other attends doctor visits and any other medical needs. Some of our Reedlings have put their heart and soul into this mission trip to Iquitos. I would absolutely hate for them to miss it. So for now, we will wait on the official surgery date and pray for all of the dates to fall right where they’re supposed to according to God’s perfect will.