We stop turning the screws on Monday, after FORTY DAYS AND NIGHTS of turning those things! KT, of course, has had enough, but is putting up with it. There is definitely a lot of new airway there - I can hear it in her breathing at night. The pain specialist today had her finger-cap her trach and breath as he listened in the stethoscope, and he could hear a LOT of air moving through there! And KT herself could tell that she was getting plenty of air. So the objective of this exercise in torture is being met!
We now have the rest of the plan pinned down, barring any unforeseen circumstances:
* Mon, 18 July - we stop turning the screws on the lower jaw
* Wed, 20 July - she undergoes surgery to install the R.E.D. device (Rigid External Distractor), which will initially be used to rotate her malleable new bone upward, as it has been grown straight down and now needs to come up and around to the normal plane of a lower jaw. (More on the RED in the next post.)
* Wed, 27 July - the most difficult of all the surgeries, she will undergo what is called the LeForte III mid-face distraction process. This is to bring the upper jaw outward to match the new lower jaw, using the same turn-screw technique, but for a shorter period of time. While Dr. G is in there, he's going to build some cheek bones, do some eye orbital bone work, and a couple of other touch-ups here and there. This is major surgery, and we are proposing a fast for her on Sunday, 24 July, if any of you want to join us (or fast anytime that week that is convenient for you). There is a danger of excessive bleeding. She will be in ICU for one night, and then in a regular hospital bed for 3 to 4 days after, if all goes well. Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Rache will be here to help us through this piece of the project!
* Mon, 1 Aug - Glenn will fly back to St. George to conduct a JROTC summer camp, and to begin the school year. Aunt Rache will take the "night shift" duties with Katie. (She is the only one outside of her immediate family that would suffice for this duty, according to KT!)
* Wed, 17 Aug - stop turning the screws on the upper jaw. At this point, Glenn will fly back to drive the family back home. KT will retain the hardware and will get home schooling for about 4 weeks so as not to expose her to accidental bumps at school.
~ 17 Sep - We all 3 fly back to Cincinnati to have the hardware removed. At this time, he will also remove all 4 wisdom teeth. He has not wanted to do that until we're finished because the teeth themselves make up a large part of the strength of her deficient jawbones. If all has gone according to plan, he will also close her tracheostomy, and she'll be rid of the trach forever! YEA!
Thanks again for all your prayers and faith on her behalf. It really is working!