Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cleft Clinic Day

Today was Nora's first "Cleft Clinic Day", a day dedicated to seeing a variety specialists that then meet, compare and summarize notes and recommend next steps.  It was an exhausting day but a good day. 
Here's the low down ... we saw:

1. The psychologist - developmentally Nora is on track, no concerns there.  The psychologist will play a bigger role in Nora's life as she goes through milestones (preparing for school, entering middle school, etc.).

2. The speech pathologist - this is an area that needs more focus.  Nora's speech is quite delayed.  She continues to see a speech pathologist in our home twice a month, but the cleft clinic speech pathologist has requested that we move to weekly sessions with the local speech pathologist.  We have seen progress in the past six months since surgery, but there is definitely more progress to be made.

3. The ENT - aside from a build-up of "Asian" wax, Nora's ears look great.  No hearing test today as she had a hearing test with our local ENT in March and the results of that were fine (it's not uncommon for cleft kiddos to have a hearing deficit).

4. The surgeon - this was our favorite part of the day.  At time of surgery, at suture removal and at Nora's follow-up in January, the surgeon had some "labels" for Nora ... many of which had to do with her survival instinct and the fact that she is quite the little warrior.  It is really quite easy to see that Doc is enamored with our Little Miss.  For now, no more surgeries in the immediate future ~ her lip and palate have healed beautifully (looks like there will be no cool Kindergarten tricks of being able to squirt milk out her nose, ha!).  In a few years, he will likely do a slight revision on her lip and nose.  And, as she loses baby teeth and as she prepares for adult teeth, we will enter the world of orthodontics and bone grafting (we'll talk more about that when the time comes).

5. The dentist - we also loved the dentist (although she looked entirely too young to be a dentist ... I think the ENT is likely younger than I as well ).  She was so good with Nora!  Cleft kiddos (as well as adopted kiddos from China that likely did not have the same level of prenatal care we often take for granted) generally have a predisposition for poor enamel and decay.  Surprisingly, Nora's teeth looked great (yay!).  She is missing one tooth where her cleft is, but that will also be dealt with later.
Between each of these sessions, there was waiting which lent itself to a bit of socializing with other cleft families with kiddos of all different ages.  We met a mom there with her 9 year old son and his little sister (5), both adopted from China.  They also have four other kiddos at home (three from Ethiopia, another from China), and they are in the paperwork process to adopt a fourth from China.  Humbling ... thankful for these opportunities to connect!
So, that was Cleft Clinic Day #1.  This will be annual "event" with more frequent visits to specialists as needed in-between.  I was quite proud of Nora for doing so well, and once again I was surprised at how relieved I was when the sessions were over ...


Leggio said...

Oh my goodness heather she looks so confident and soooo happy. Sounds like you got good news for your sweet girl. Mia had her first dental visit and she is missing teeth but we will cross that bridge later too. Nora is a beautiful little girl!!!!!! All your kiddos are just so adorable. Love from the lone star state.

Elizabeth said...

It is so amazing to me how much she looks like the other kids! God works in mysterious ways! Meant to be yours :) Miss you!