On Wednesday, I took both girls in for their annual check-ups. I hate how when the children are young, birthdays signify the next check-up and subsequent shots. 🙁
Shots open up a whole different discussion, but if you’re curious, my personal philosophy is to space out vaccines if possible, especially if they’ve recently been sick. I don’t like to overload their immune systems. For instance, at this check-up, I only let them give Mya one chicken-pox vaccine, and I’ll go back for her MMR in a month. I get them vaccinated and I have never had a problem, but I’ve heard so many horror stories that I hold my breath for days afterwards, terrified something will happen.
The check-up was absolutely exhausting, as double doctor appointments with a baby who is missing her nap always are, and towards the end of Ada’s exam, he asked if there were any other concerns.
Somehow, in the midst of struggling to contain Mya, a light bulb went on in my brain, and I remembered that I had wanted to mention Ada’s neck.
“Well, yeah, actually, ” I said. “Ada’s been playing with the thing on her neck a lot lately.”
Ada was born with a weird little indent on her throat–it was one of the first things we noticed in the new-baby look over. It looked like a little dent in her skin, and I was told by her pediatrician and another that I went to for a second opinion that it is a thryoglossal duct cyst, a sorta common problem. Basically, the duct that runs under your tongue (glossal) and along the thyroid stuff in your neck doesn’t close up all the way, and a cyst developed around the part that didn’t close. Here’s a picture:
I was told by both docs that basically, the cyst wasn’t a problem until it became a problem.
He rolled over on his little doctor stool thingy and Ada compliantly lifted up her neck to show him her “bump.” (She is used to this from us constantly checking on it).
His face immediately registered concern and his eyes widened. He felt one side of the bump and instantly, it popped open, spewing out a thick string of pale drainage. It looked remarkably and horrifyingly like Cheese-Whiz shooting of her neck, and for those of you who used to enjoy Cheese-Whiz, I sincerely apologize for that visual image that has ruined any chance of future Cheese-Whiz consumption.
Apparently, the cyst was now a problem.
After draining the cyst (shudder), he threw his gloves in the trash and casually threw out that she would need to have the cyst removed.
“Oh, like you mean, when she’s older? How long should we wait?” I asked, thinking that no way would my three-year old need surgery.
“Naw,” he said, shrugging his shoulders, “As soon as possible.”
I was floored. A simple check-up that was almost over–and now I was to leave knowing I had to schedule surgery for my baby?? He assured me that it would be no big deal, but I am still struggling with it. I’m a nurse, I know that surgery is never not a big deal. Especially for three-year olds.
I know I need to remain cool, calm and collected, but the thought of her going under, and getting an IV, and someone cutting into her precious little skin literally makes me want to throw up. I can’t even handle the thought that some parents go through this on a much bigger scale with sick kids–it’s so horrible to imagine. So many families in the hospital, babies with cancer, parents just struggling to make their daughter smile to forget the pain for an instant.
As a nurse, sometimes, I take for granted all the stuff that comes with being sick. With 9 patients to see, it’s hard for me to take the time to think about the emotional part of hospital visits. A lot of times, my patients are pros at surgeries and hospital stuff anyways. I expect them to take it all in stride–ok, yup, another surgery, another IV.
But now that it’s happening to me, it feels so foreign.
I am blindsided by how suddenly it can come about, and that it what scares me the most. Sometimes I think about my own body. What’s going on in there? I wonder. An aneurysm just waiting to burst, cancer growing that I don’t know about? It’s just weird how mysterious the inner-workings of our bodies are…and we usually don’t know when something is wrong until its really wrong.
I know Ada will be ok with the simple procedure (right?!), but my heart breaks for all the families who endure health struggles with their children.
Saying prayers today for all those parents who fight a brave fight for their babies.
And in happier news–we are going to watch Kung Fu Panda II in a few hours! My husband is so jealous.