Hope beyond my wildest imaginings

by Kristi Van Dyk

Friends ... so much has happened medically since our last request for prayers. I believe we mentioned the medical issues just prior to our big day of MRIs, CT scans and the sedated hearing test. 

During those procedures, I was alone with Joshua and I couldn't understand a word any doctor was telling me. I was too busy focusing on my little guy who was coming out of anesthesia and thrashing like a crazy man. I was desperately trying to listen, but I wasn't going to miss being the first person J saw when we awoke. 

As soon as the reports from that visit were available in writing, Google and I poured over the results. I couldn't believe what I was reading. 
A whole bunch of medical words that this wasn't quite right structurally, but still Normal.
If what I was reading was true there was a whole lot going right in these tests. 

I didn't dare post, as if putting it in writing to our precious blog followers would jinx the results. I vowed to myself I'd post, the DAY OF, our ENT follow up. So today, after Joshua made it through preschool (by all accounts from his amazing support team at ZCS, he really did a great job), we had lunch and took a nap. Then, we went to one of his favorite (lie) places. The doctor. 

After assuring Joshua that there would be no shots (yes, I know how to say it in Mandarin but don't ask me to spell it), he ran excitedly in to the nurses. He willingly stood on the scale, measured his height and happily held out his arm for the pressure cuff (he picks up patterns LIGHTNING quick and doctors are routine). 

Our ENT's office is always busy (hence the reason we waited nearly 6 weeks for a follow) but this doc is my favorite. He is gracious, kind hearted, sincere and honest. He explains everything practically, isn't afraid of getting his goatee picked at by a curious little boy or his equipment ruined (Joshua was allowed to 'check his own ears'). The summary of our visit was everything I had dreamed. 

Joshua's right ear is an enigma. The hearing test we did in the office indicated that his low tones would be fine and high tones would be problematic, but, with the left ear working, he'd be well within the normal range. The follow up hearing test actually demonstrated the opposite spectrum. His right ear would have trouble with the high tones and the lower tones would be easy. This will make setting his BAHA (tomorrow morning) a bit challenging. The bottom line for the right ear, no intervention needed. It might be differently shaped, but functionally, it rocks (except for mounds of built up wax ... lol). 

I should also note that our Dr. loved citing that his hearing is clearly NOT impeding his lifestyle or his learning. He's grown leaps and bounds in language, which he readily demonstrated for the doctor, and he's clearly capable of speech (good heavens is he capable of speech!)

Joshua's left ear is nothing short of miraculous. Yes, I know, cosmetically, he doesn't technically have an ear ... But, the canal is there and it opens into his head. Once his canal opens there is a blockage of some sort ... The scans were supposed to tell us what happens after the blockage. This is where the miracle comes in. Past the part of the ear where the ear drum resides, Joshua's ear is structurally normal. There is nothing wrong. Yes, he has no ear drum (those can be created. I know that for a fact because I have the scar to prove it), and yes, the canal is different, but after the ear drum, the middle and inner ear are beautiful. 

This speaks hope for him. (and for us)
What level of hope? 
That's still to be determined.
We are being scheduled for an OR visit at HDVCH (it's been a couple months, so lets get back there) to see if the ENT can remove the blockages from the left canal and clean out the right one ... Once those are cleaned, Doc will have a clear view of what stands between the canal and the middle ear. The results will determine our next steps. 

MEANWHILE, Joshua also has this fascinating little pit (we call it a pinhole) in the side of his head, near his ear. It drains fluid, and we must take care of this "pit." So, while he's under doc is going to shoot dye into this pit and watch where the fluid goes. Understanding more about this pit - and its impact - will also help the diagnostic plans to be made with clarity and certainty. 

In the end, there's a chance that our boy may hear without a hearing aid. It IS possible that after all of this, we may be able to provide him with enough procedures to give him not only the hearing in his left ear, but also an external ear (if he desires to have one that looks more typical, based on the way this boy LOVES to look at himself, I'm sure he'll have an opinion soon). 

Friends, never, in our adoption process, did I ever consider that there would be this much hope. The words of the plastic surgeon on our initial consult still ring in my ears. "You better prepare to learn some sign language guys. (as he chuckles) But since you're already conquering Mandarin that shouldn't be a problem. What's one more language in that house of yours." 

And here we sit, on the week of preschool beginnings - giving our son access to an education in two languages: his native and our native. And also bursting open wide the possibilities of better hearing - better access to world of sound - and more direct access to language.

On deck tomorrow for this huge week: 
Baha Fitting
Mandarin preschool
Central Midweek Begins (WOOT!)
Surviving Thursday (and Momma's book club at our house)