Elizabeth had her annual checkup for her hemangiomas today. Since they've decided that the only one that is really of concern is the one on her nose (and then only really from a cosmetic perspective) the last few appointments have just been to monitor this one hemangioma with the understanding that we're working towards a surgery date likely before she starts school (to reduce the risk of bullying). Although it has lightened considerably and is slowly shrinking, its size and position mean that even a complete involution will leave behind a pocket of skin on the nose. Actually, we're not all that concerned about bullying any more. Although Elizabeth has participated in numerous group activities, she hasn't been asked about her birthmarks very frequently in the last year. The few times it came up, she handled the question fine. We haven't had anyone ask about Elizabeth's life expectancy or run after us to demand what is wrong with her face in a very long time.
Last year we were told that the next appointment would basically be to set a date for the surgery. With all of this in mind Mommy and Daddy have been doing a lot of thinking about what is about to be done and why. We've also told Elizabeth that since it is her nose and she is a big girl now, she gets to be part of the process. She seems to be unable to separate the concept of the removal of the hemangeoma from the thought that it might involve a needle (which she is apparently not all that fond of after her recent shots). After much pondering and debates with various and sundry as to whether or not it would be ok to leave it alone we came up with a list of questions and headed off to see the good doctor.
Things we wanted to know:
Can the surgery be done under a local instead of a general? Apparently yes but most people are simply not comfortable having this done and certainly not until she is an adult.
Is there any cost to have the surgery done? Yes - parking.
There was also some discussion on the actual process which would be followed and the recovery period (no swimming for a couple of weeks apparently). The doctor also mentioned that she was not one to push elective surgery but that she fully expected there to be a request to have it done in the next 10 years and as such would recommend doing it now.
One angle that we felt was important (and the doctor agreed) was that it is quite likely that Elizabeth will require corrective lenses, eg glasses, and likely before she would be old enough to consider the posibility of a local. In the end it was decided that we would go ahead and put our names down on the list and wait for the call - likely for a June surgery date.