But there are moments, albeit brief moments, where we can at times catch a glimpse of purpose in the pain. I had one of those moments recently.
When I was pregnant with Jackson, we discovered at the 20 week ultrasound that he had a bilateral cleft lip and palate. As you can imagine, the shock and pain of this discovery was almost more than my heart could take at that time. But then I kicked into gear, researching and learning and gleaning as much information as I could, to try to be the best, most informed mom I could for this little boy. My boy just got dealt a hand in life that was completely out of his control. I researched bottles and what the best ones were for cleft babies. When he arrived, I had every possible option available. I researched surgeons and found one of the best in the country. I researched. And one of the things I found was something called NAM (nasal alveolar molding).
Operation Smile, one of my favorite organizations.
"Have a vision that pulls you through the pain of transformation."
The NAM gear came off the day of Jackson's first surgery... May 1, 2008. We did it.
Fast forward to Jackson's recent craniofacial team appointment... Typically at his age, Jackson would undergo a lip and nose revision. When we saw his craniofacial plastic surgeon, he told us that Jackson is looking great, and at this time, doesn't need this surgery. He told us that for now, they will focus on dental work, and his next cleft surgery probably won't be until he's 7-9 years old. Incredible.
So, today I am thankful. Thankful that "experimental" procedures like NAM are available to kids like Jackson. Thankful that the pain was not for nothing, one less surgery for him to endure. And I'm thankful for this moment, the chance to glimpse a bit of purpose.
Jackson was going to have to undergo three separate surgeries this summer. We're now down to two:
June 15th: Jackson will have a tonsillectomy, in the hopes of curing him of PFAPA. There is a 60-80% chance of a complete cure. If it doesn't cure him, at the very least, it is has been shown to reduce the number of fever episodes.
July 26th: Jackson's dentist is pulling his 4 top front teeth, all of which are so far up into his gum line, they are hard to get to, one having come through his palate. At the same time, she will do x-rays to see where his permanent teeth are so we have more of an idea of what we will be dealing with in the future.