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California, Pre-Op, Black Face

posted Aug 8, 2012, 8:32 AM by Manny Wilke

Manny and his entourage made it safely to California on Monday. This includes Mommy, Daddy, Eli, Abe, Aunt Valerie, and cousins Sabrina & Jarrett.

On Tuesday we headed to Santa Monica to Dr. Lewin’s new office. Despite taking the I-405 South for 30 minutes instead of the I-405 North, we still made it in time surprisingly. While we took Manny back to meet with Dr. Lewin, Aunt Val took the kiddos on an adventure walk – hitting Walgreens for a beach towel for Sabrina and a new whoopee cushion for Abe. They also stopped in at the Santa Monica Fire Department and ended up getting a full tour, with take home hats and stickers! Apparently, Abe even showed off his new whoopee cushion for them too. We then had some fun at the famous Santa Monica Pier, going on the Ferris Wheel and playing games, followed by some really great time at the beach. This was a great way to spend Manny's only day bandage free and without activity restrictions. Before I left Wisconsin I found a quote I had written down in my desk drawer… “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength” … so I tried to remember that and enjoy the day, watching Manny smile and talk sassy to the waves. With that being said, there is always unavoidable tension and stress on surgery trips.

While meeting with Dr. Lewin and discussing each ear and strategy, she said “let’s make a list” and I responded, "oh, I already have one!" She laughed. So, Dr. Lewin and I went through “my list” for surgery, reviewing the surgical history of each ear and what would be ideal this surgery.  Apparently, you cannot get new medpor implants AND do new skin grafting on the front of the ear at the same time. So, we had to choose as he somewhat needs both. We chose to move forward with 2 new implants, so their size/projection/angle are exactly the same and we’ll deal with the skin issues later. In fact, she traced my ears so Manny will have ears that look like mine! When you are a bilateral case, it’s best to have smaller ears apparently. So, despite being the end of Phase 1 of surgeries, there will be more with Dr. Roberson and possibly with Dr. Lewin. But, that does not concern me – we have come so far and he is going to go into Kindergarten with 2 sweet ears with the big surgeries behind us!

When putting Manny to bed last night, I tried to get him excited about his “new ears” but he wasn’t really falling for it and I wasn't doing well on my sales pitch. To him, he already has 2 big boy ears, and we have never focused on why the Stage 2 medpor (implant) reconstructive (plastic surgery) is needed as we don’t want to make him feel that his ears aren’t already perfect.  I told him that he should be so excited to get “mommy’s ears” and have his sunglasses stay on better (they don’t stay on well on the Right ear where the implant shifted), and his Left ear protrudes a little too much, catching on clothing (or whatever) and causing discomfort.

Mom: Manny, aren’t you SO excited to get Mommy’s ears?
Manny: Sure, mom…
Mom: Your ears are going to match each other and be so extra cool!
Manny: Ok, But do you know what I really want tomorrow instead?
Mom: No, honey, what do you want?
I want a black face.
Mom: What?
Manny: Yeah, a black face. How do you get a black face? So many people have black faces. You know, dark faces. They are SOOOOO cool. I want one. Can Dr. Lewin give me a black face?
Mom: No sweetie, tomorrow we only signed up for ears.

Thanks to Grandma Sue, Grammy J, and the Ladron family for pre-trip prizes and special thanks to the Panich family, Sherri Mau, and Grammy J for their letters and prizes that awaited our arrival at Uncle Dereks! A huge thank you to a stranger, Mr. Pollpeter, for his “family fun money” which we are excited to use out here towards an aquarium visit. Apparently, he had seen us recently at the Beaver Dam Hospital and remembered the InSpire Magazine article and tracked us down. He wanted to show us support and wanted to make sure we used it towards something “fun” and not medical – as his wife just battled cancer. Unbelievably touching.