Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cleft Update

As most of you know, Asher was born with a cleft lip and palate. His lip was a unilateral cleft, which means it was open on one side. You may notice in some of his photo's that his nose is a bit caved in on the left side from the cleft. His lip was repaired when he was about two years old, and it looks great. He will probably have a lip revision done in the future to help make the skin and lip appear more even.
Asher was also born with a cleft palate, which is a hole in the roof of the mouth. The hole was repaired in China in 2004, but the surgery was unsuccessful. Although the surgeons closed the hole, they did not repair the defect in his mouth. I don't know the specifics of the palate but from what I've been told, the nerves (?) in the roof of his mouth are misaligned which is contributing to his poor speech. (I don't know if it's the nerves specifically, but something is not lining up correctly.. and that's the problem.)
Asher was seen by the cleft palate team in November and they concluded that he would need to have further surgery on his palate, even going as far as re-opening it to align everything back up correctly. He is also sporting the largest tonsils that the surgeons have ever seen and obviously those need to come out too. Together with the large tonsils and misaligned palate, it is affecting his speech even with all of the speech therapy he is getting.
We knew when we adopted Asher that surgery was a possibility, and obviously it will be necessary in his case. As you can see from the picture, he has a palate expander installed in his mouth. We use a key to "turn" the expander each day with the goal that it will expand his small mouth. Asher is such a tough little guy and never complains. Even when we ask him if his mouth hurts (and I know it does) he always says no. He's such a strong little boy and I know he will do well through all of the surgeries he will face in the future.
Tomorrow, he visits the cleft team again to discuss his third surgery which could be happening this summer..

I'll update tomorrow when I know..

1 comment:

FHL said...

I just found your blog and enjoyed reading your Happiness post.

Asher is such a brave little guy! Hoping all goes well with his appointment.