Friday, April 18, 2008

More About Sadey's Ear - Part One

As I mentioned in a previous post, our youngest child, Sadey, was born with a congenital abnormality in her right ear. Here is what we know from a medical standpoint: Shortly after she was born a BAER test was performed to see if her auditory nerve can conduct sound. They found out that it does conduct sound perfectly. She does have some hearing impairment in that ear -- her threshold is 65 decibels, meaning a shout sounds like a whisper in that ear. However because the nerve is intact, we know that the impairment is because of the stuff that's between her outer ear and her inner ear (the extra skin, etc.) This means that the impairment can most likely be overcome with reconstructive surgery. We also know that because of the impairment, Sadey will have difficulty hearing in a crowded room with a lot of background noise, and she will also have difficulty locating which direction sound is coming from. Other than that, she should have no problems with her hearing, and her speech development should be normal.

Well, we had a consultation with a specialist back in November at UNC Chapel Hill about her ear. We really didn't learn much that we didn't already know because Sadey is so young. The doctor did confirm that Sadey's diagnosis is Microtia (which literally means "little ear") in her right ear. Her pediatrician had basically just diagnosed her as having a nonspecific congenital ear deformity. We still don't know what internal ear structures Sadey has, other than that her inner ear is intact. We don't even know if she has an ear canal. The doctor said that they won't do any scans until she is older (maybe 5 or 6) because they can't do anything about it yet, so it would just be exposing her to extra radiation. Also, they would probably have to give her a general anesthetic to perform the scan at this time. Before the appointment I was hoping they would go ahead and do a scan just so we could know what to expect and how to pray, but when I heard the doctor's explanation for waiting, I knew that it was the best thing to do. Ah, well, guess we just have to trust God... ;)

The doctor emphasized that Sadey's ear will not change form as it grows. On it's own it will not open up, and it will never look like the other ear. It will just get bigger as it is. Many people have been diagnosed with the same condition, so they have ample evidence of this fact. And, of course, they have no idea what causes it.

One of the things that helped me feel reassured through the appointment was that the doctor didn't try to shove reconstructive surgery down our throats. She said that when the
time comes we'll make a treatment decision together based on what's best for Sadey. In fact, she said she was glad that we knew that there are other treatment options, such as a prosthetic, or doing nothing. We appreciate the chance to objectively consider all the options.

As I said, that is what we know from a medical standpoint, but God has a different perspective, which in the interest of your time, I'll share tomorrow. :-)

(To be continued...)

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