Last week, we took Madelyn back up to Doernbecher to check in with the surgeon, ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist, and audiologist. The surgeon was VERY pleased with Madelyn's progress – yay! We are still massaging Madelyn's lip one or two times a day, and the surgeon told us to keep pressing on so that we keep the scar tissue to a minimum. The surgeon said that Madelyn can wait another year before seeing her again. Madelyn's next surgery will probably be around age 5, when they will work a little on the gum line and nose. Madelyn will also need to start seeing an orthodontist regularly at age 7. (We will see if she beats my personal record of having 10 teeth pulled, not counting wisdom teeth, and having braces 3 times!)
The surgeon also heard Madelyn talk a little and was pleased to hear some hard consonant sounds. If Madelyn can keep articulating those sounds, she may not need much speech therapy – but we will continue to check in with Doernbecher on that. Her next check-in with their speech therapist is this summer.
The reports from the audiologist and ENT doctor were a little different than expected. The audiologist reported that the ear tests revealed some sort of blockage, and the ENT confirmed that the tubes have already dislodged (but have not yet fallen out). The ENT opted not to take them out himself because he was the third person to check Madelyn's ears and the poor girl was practically in hysterics at that point (she was really a very good trooper through the whole day).
Troy note: It was as we were holding her down so that they could check her ears that Madelyn began crying out “Daaaaaady,” in the absolutely saddest manner :( It made me feel horrible for the poor kid.
The fact that the tubes are no longer in is not necessarily of concern – their main purpose was to help with the drainage prior to the cleft repairs. The ENT wants us to watch for ear infections and any backward progress in speech. The last month has truly seemed to bring exponential forward progress in speech, but we will be on the alert. If any problems come up, we will check in with the ENT prior to the next yearly check-up.
To encourage the forward progress with Madelyn's speech, we are trying to regularly work on the hard consonant sounds right now. We've spent the last few weeks on the letters B and T. In the next few weeks, I will work to put together a post of some of the things we are doing in this respect – some of the exercises were recommended by the speech therapist and some were recommended by Auntie Tiffany to help Madelyn with phonemic awareness (an important step toward ultimate reading). We are also setting up a little reading/learning area for Madelyn in our office, so we will post some "before and after" pictures on that project – hopefully soon.
Here are a few pictures of our Cutie the day we went up to Doernbecher: