Being born with severe craniofacial deformities, I have had more surgeries than I can count. I was born with Treacher Collins syndrome (a rare genetic craniofacial deformity syndrome), where I had no chin, eyesockets, cheekbones, palate, outer ears, or ear canals. From the time I was born (1975) to 2003, I have had numerous reconstructive surgeries.
At James W. Riley Hospital for Children (Indianapolis), I had (from birth to age 3):
--Cleft palate repair at age 3
--Attempted opening of my ear canals (failed) at age 3
At St. Louis Children's Hospital (St. Louis, MO
) (from 1982-1991):
--Multiple tongue-flap palate repairs
--Multiple upper and lower jaw reconstructions requiring ICU time, tracheostomies, and wiring my mouth shut for months (and eating by syringe);
these used rib grafts, plates and screws
--Multiple outer-ear reconstructive procedures using rib, cartilage, and pelvic skin grafts
--Eyesocket and cheekbone reconstruction using ribs and wires (I lost my right eye that time)
In 1991 I returned to Riley Hospital for the remainder of my reconstructive surgeries through 1996:
--major lower-jaw advancement surgery in Dec. 1991, using rib grafts; this took over 14 hours straight! This laid me up for more than a week in hospital (including 2 days in ICU); they wired my mouth shut for 2 months (through Christmas, January, & February) on a syringe liquid diet and gave me a tracheostomy. At 14 hours, this one is my longest on record.
--July 1992-major upper-jaw reconstruction (mouth immobilised again)
--March 1993--combined surgery involving bioabsorbable facial implants and eye-muscle surgery
--April 1993--surgery to control infection stemming from implant rejection from March surgery; 18th birthday spent in hospital
--July 1994--lower jaw biopsy on suspicion of cancer (it was actually scar tissue from many previous surgeries & it looked suspicious during routine dental x-ray)
--July & Dec. 1995 & March & Aug. 1996--repeated surgeries for infection of facial implant sites; they finally removed one of them
Finally, in August 2003 in Indianapolis, I had my BAHA (Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid) surgically implanted (a little box snaps onto a screw in my mastoid bone behind my right ear) so I could have this new, state-of-the-art Swedish bone-vibrating hearing aid.
Recently I was able to obtain all the surgical and anaesthetic notes from my surgeries at both hospitals from 1975-1996. The stack is a THICK one!
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)