Friday, January 31, 2014

Dayna - 1 Month Post-Op

(Warning...some descriptions are rather gross.)

It's been an up and down month as Dayna has recovered from surgery. Her pain has been manageable the whole time. Her swelling went down after about a week, and she came out of it with speech that was much more clear than before.

But in the meantime, the surgery site around her teeth has opened. We were told the biggest thing to avoid is anything that would open the surgery site. So this has left us extremely concerned. We have been irrigating the site after every meal to keep it free of debris. She also developed a nasty infection about a week out from surgery. Between the infection, inability to brush her teeth, collection of glue holding the incision together, and debris...she had developed some bad odors in her mouth. Fortunately, her classmates were wonderful, and nobody has said anything negative to her.

Her school came up with a care plan including alternative PE activities and indoor recess to avoid any possible blows to her face.

Once the infection cleared and the glue and stitches were removed, Dayna is left with another opening at the back of her palate. It's about the size of a pencil eraser, and is open to the bone. The doctor is sharing our concern about this opening, but is encouraged that she's not getting any liquid in her nose. The hole is beyond where her teeth will need to be, so if it's weaker there, it shouldn't be a problem.

She does have some bleeding if she gets bumped (I turned around last week and didn't know she was right at my elbow.) The doctor tells us that when that happens, the body is trying to expel dead bone, so she has small fragments coming out. The doctor did the graft in 2 layers. It appears the layer closer to the nose is intact, and would have failed by now if it was going to fail. The layer closer to the mouth is what is giving us problems (the bone fragments coming loose, etc.)

We were told that it should take about 6-8 weeks for the soft tissue to close and protect the bone that is currently exposed. In the meantime, she can eat regular food again, as long as we continue to irrigate after every meal. She can brush her teeth as well. We were asked to wait a few months before taking her to the dentist, as he would have to clean around those seems a waste to pay for a full visit to clean half of her teeth, so wait we will.

She's back to full activity (although I've asked her PE teacher if she can do something else if they play dodge ball...that one just scares me...and IF we ever get snow around here, I will try to keep her away from snowball fights. I also think we'll refrain from ice skating for the time being...just in case.)

So the healing process hasn't gone as smoothly as we had hoped, but she's been a trouper with the modified diet and activity. We go back in one more month for (hopefully) our last post-op until her CAT scan this summer. At that point, we'll know how successful the graft was.

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