Thursday, June 04, 2009

Updates from the Land of Chaos

Every single darn year, the final few weeks of school are chaotic. I always forget the level of craziness......until it is upon us. But there is excitement in the air! School is almost out! Wahoo! I think I'd be MORE excited if I was looking forward to months of nothing-ness like that kids are........but oh well! I, too, was once a child awaiting 11 weeks of vacation. ( I wish I had appreciated it more!)

In any case, things here are going well. Its been wild with band concerts, Dane's final sports banquet of the year, Tiersten gearing up for the ballet recital on the 12th & 13th, and getting the horse added to our routine. (Loving that last part, by the way. I had almost forgotten how good horse sweat and manure smells.)

And this week, Jennica had a visual evaluation update, and her issues are improving with her at-home therapy on the computer. Yippee! Her tracking is better and........the boys love this part......her developmental vision doctor has PRESCRIBED a Wii for her. :) So.....we'll be adding "Wii therapy" to her routine in the next few weeks. Of course, as Mike was quick to point out, wouldn't the Wii therapy be even better on a 60-inch plasma screen? Perhaps another prescription is due? Yeah.........we didn't think so either.

Jennica also will be doing speech therapy over the summer in addition to her occupational therapy. This one baffles most people that know Jen, as she communicates extremely well, is considered "on target" for all speech and language issues, and has no enunciation difficulties. So......speech therapy? But while it is a subtle issue, her sensory processing makes it difficult at times for her to express herself in ways that will allow her to communicate at a higher level. When life is good.......she does great. When she gets stressed or over-stimulated, she has a hard time expressing exactly WHAT is stressing her, and asking in an acceptable manner for what could help her. Those are the times when she still turns into a raging beast, or a whiny cling-on. She also struggles a bit with some subtle social language skills, so it will be good to get some help with that. We're merging now into some of the more advanced manifestations of SPD, but these are the skills that need to be built in order for her to be successful. Keeping the eye on the goal. Function......function.......function......Also exciting for us is that her EXCELLENT preschool teacher has been hired next year to teach Kindergarten. This particular teacher just attended the two-day seminar with us on SPD, and has spent a year with Jen already. She understands the disorder, knows Jennica well enough to recognize what issues are "kid issues" and what issues are "SPD issues", and communicates well with us about our goals and objectives. Wahoo! This is a great thing for Jen!!

And yesterday, I spent the day in Seattle with Grant at the maxillofacial surgeon. Grant WILL have surgery.......100% for sure. However, the surgeon is recommending that we hold off for 12-18 months for 2 major reasons: 1) Grant needs to have his wisdom teeth out, and removing the wisdom teeth is going to leave a "hole" in the bone right where they need to cut. They need that bone to be as strong as possible to hold the new pins, so we will be removing wisdom teeth surgically this summer, which will give plenty of time for that bone to heal before the jaw surgery. And 2) His jaw is currently asymmetrical in growth. That's pretty normal for an almost 14-year-old, as bones don't always grow at the same rate on both sides. But if the bone is going to stay assymetrical, they will correct it during the surgery. If the bone is going to even out in the next 12-18 months, they don't want to correct it now during surgery, only to have it continue to grow (and end up crooked) after the surgery. All this makes perfect sense to me, and I like the doctor's willingness to time things properly so this is a one-time deal.

The surgery, when the time is right, will take place at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, and will involve an overnight stay. They no longer wire the jaw shut for this surgery, as was done in the past (much to Grant's relief), but he will have to eat fairly soft foods for about 6 weeks and will not be able to play any contact sports for a minimum of 10 weeks after surgery. Another reason to time things right, as he's going to throw one heckuva temper tantrum if anyone suggests missing out on a season of football. :)

And, of course, being me, the great-asker-of-questions, I asked what would happen if Grant didn't have this surgery? On a short and long-term basis, is it a huge deal if Grant's lower jaw is smaller than his upper jaw and he lives with an overbite? (I'm not trying to be a neglectful parent, but I wanted to know!) The surgeon told us that his measurement for correction, if the surgery were done today, is 9 millimeters, which is pretty significant. Most likely, as life progressed, Grant's lower front teeth would begin to destroy the soft tissue and bone behind the upper front teeth. His jaw joint would suffer from extreme stress, and he could expect to suffer from severe headaches and other jaw disabilities. Potential for future surgery in adulthood would be very high, with a more complex surgery involved to correct the bone issue he has, as well as any damage that had resulted from the bone issue. Okay.........I'm good with that answer. I'm convinced that this a necessary surgery.

So Grant has the summer "free" from jaw surgery after all. Except for the wisdom tooth removal. Too bad I can't suck them out of his head with a shop vac. :)

No comments: