Thursday, December 27, 2012


Okay, let me just start by saying that while this is, in general, a 'medical update' post ... we're actually doing just fine.  Emma is walking and as mischievous and happy as ever and Charlie is enjoying some extended grandparent time during his winter break.  Christmas was good to all of us and God is good.

So please don't read this with a dire tone of voice :)

Emma next two trips to the OR are scheduled for January and February.  The first is a CT scan to determine the extent of the damage done in her ear.  Emma's ENT is a fabulous man who can joyfully get away with saying the following to us:

"Emma's ears look great today!  Better than I've seen them in a long time!  You know, aside from the missing ear drum ...I mean ... other than that ... they look great!"

This truly is good news.  Emma's ear has healed well from the removal of the tissue and appears ready to accept a new ear drum.  First, though, we'd like to determine the extent of the damage, as these things can sometimes affect (read: erode) bones.

(to read more about Cholesteatomas, click here.  my understanding, which may be wrong, is that it's not scar tissue, not a cyst, and not a tumor, but acts similarly to all of those things.  the word 'drilling' was used to discuss complete removal, at which point Mommy just sort of tunes out a bit and makes the choice to trust God and the doctors:) )

The CT scan will be done under anesthesia.  Emma has had a nasty habit of forgetting to breathe during lighter sedation and it doesn't seem likely that she's going to hold perfectly still during this test without some, um, happy sleepy meds :)  The doctors just feel more comfortable with her under the watchful eye of the anesthesia team.

Then, regardless of what we find, Emma's ear will be completely cleaned out and a new ear drum will be constructed during surgery in February.  This will be a several hour procedure and an over night hospital stay for the Bear, but we feel confident that it is the correct thing to do going forward.

We are so SO thankful for Emma's medical team!

I guess our prayers for these procedures are just lack of complication.  I don't get the sense that Emma is in any pain right now (aside from some sniffles), so we are not feeling stressed about the time between now and when we can get this fixed.

I am astounded sometimes by how much God has used Emma to teach us about His ways.  I used to REALLY REALLY struggle with Matthew 6:

I tell you, do not worry about your life ... look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well ... do not worry about tomorrow ... each day has enough trouble of its own.

At my core, I am a born worrier.  But God has used Emma to teach me that TODAY is all I need to worry about.  Worrying about tomorrow does no good anyway, and God will take care of us in the future just as he has in the past ... so I only need to concern myself with seeking his kingdom in the present.

So while happiness is not guaranteed for any of us at any given time, we are so thankful for it today and trusting God with tomorrow

Thursday, December 13, 2012


so it's been almost a week since emma's ear surgery

it's weird, but we're sort of back to normal?

she's sleeping

she's walking again

she's playing

she has no interest in slowing down to snuggle :)

so ...


i guess we'll call it 'good enough'

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Just to be clear

I had a rough day today.  Emma is having a lot of trouble walking since the surgery - I'm not sure if it's a balance thing or because of the IV placement, but it's hard to see her not walk.

But no matter what,

I will extol the Lord at all times
His praise will always be on my lips.
I will glorify the Lord,
Let the afflicted hear and rejoice!
Glorify the Lord with me
Let us exalt His name together!

Psalm 34

Regardless of our circumstances, He is worthy of praise.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Thanks so much for the prayers today, friends!

Emma's surgery was ... well, we've been through worse ... but not as boring as we would have hoped.

I got to walk back with her and hold her hands while she fell asleep, so that was good, but it pretty much went downhill from there.

After what seemed like much longer than it should have taken, our ENT came back with, "Not good news about Emma's ear."

The granulation tissue, together with another type of inflammatory tissue, has basically eaten away the ear drum in her right ear.

I seriously had to clarify, "So.  Wait.  It's gone??"

"Pretty much, yup."

He was able to remove a lot of the tissue, but he was not able to tell how deep the damage was.  Right now the ear canal is inflammed and angry.  We're supposed to do ear drops 3 times a day until we don't see bloody discharge anymore.  This will probably last 3-7 days.

After the ear calms down, we're going back to her ENT to see what he sees.  We'll probably do a CT scan or MRI or something to see if damage was done to the mastoid bone (deep in the ear canal) and then we'll decide whether or not reconstructive surgery is the right next step.  I'm not sure I completely understand all the future options ... I'm sure I'm going to be getting a crash course in Ear Anatomy soon :)

Recovery from surgery was a little rough this afternoon, but at least we're home now.  She does seem kind of uncomfortable, but I'm sure a bit of sleep with do us all some good!

Again, thank you so much for the prayers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SO much!

Emma is feeling MUCH better today!

Her teachers said she had a great day at school, which was so encouraging.

The antibiotics are still ... doing what antibiotics do, but at this point, that seems to be the only thing bothering the Bear from last week's illness.

The surgery intake nurse called to pre-register Emma for the end of the week.  It always hits me when they start talking about anesthesia and airways and IVs and "waking up" that, even if this is the very minor procedure that it has the potential to be, it's still not a lot of fun.

And, for the first time, we have been talking to Emma about the procedure and she seems to understand.  Daddy mentioned it to her for the first time on Monday night and her reaction was amazing!  She had been kind of ignoring him and playing with my necklace, but when he said "surgery," she immediately turned her head to look at him.  And then she kept looking from me to him and back again, as if to ask for more information.  Then, yesterday, when she was fussing and pointing to her ear, I told her that the surgery would make it all better and she actually NODDED :)

She gets it this time around, I'm sure of it.

A victory, to be sure, but obviously a bittersweet one.

We're so so thankful that she's feeling better, though!  Thank you for your prayers for the Bear!

Like I said, this procedure has the potential to be a very minor surgery (considering), but granulation tissue in her ear has caused a few bumps in the road before, so we're praying that it's a quick in and out visit to Children's on Friday.

Thank you, God, for Emma smiles today! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Better enough

Emma is still not 100%, but she's passed her pre-op physical, so surgery is on for the end of the week!

When our Pediatrician Who We Love looked in Emma's ear this morning, she said that it looked 70% covered by granulation tissue.  I am SO glad Emma is well enough to do the surgery and get this issue resolved.

Thank you, Prayer Warriors!

As much as I am LOVING these snuggles, I am continuing to pray that Emma will feel better soon.  I suspect that there is some pain that is not going to go away until her ear is cleaned out, but I'm really wanting my girl to be feeling as well as she can before she goes under anesthesia.

I'm focusing on the positive, though :) PRAISE JESUS for a good night's sleep for everyone last night!