Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fear

So, as I mentioned, Monday is Jacob's mole removal surgery. As you may recall, about a year ago I noticed a speck on Jacob's leg. It literally looked like a speck of dirt, but it didn't come off. It grew, slowly at first but then much more quickly. It was very dark in color, and within a few months it was the size of an average mole...the head of a pin, perhaps. By the time we went in for his two-year well visit, it was getting disturbingly large. The doctor suggested going to see a dermatologist, just because of Jacob's age and how quickly it was growing. I think I waited a bit to call, but once I did we got in relatively quickly. The doctor looked at it for a couple minutes, measured it (5mm), and deduced that it would need to be taken off. The type of mole it is means that it's dark and grows quickly, and while it's uncommon, they can be cancerous. So, in a case like Jacob's, they prefer to take them off before they get to be trouble--either too big, cancerous, etc. For most normal adults, they're not that serious--just a quick removal in the doctor's office. But because Jacob is a squirmy toddler, they will need to put him under. It won't take long, just 15 minutes, but he'll be out, they'll do their thing, and I think there will be stitches, too. We had to make an appointment with the plastic surgeon, and it took months to get in there. And then I didn't want to plan a surgery in the middle of December, so we pushed it off until now. And now the day is looming and I am nervous.

I'm nervous about the practical stuff, for starters. It's an early morning, and Jacob can't eat or drink beforehand. We'll probably have a lot of time to kill once we're there, and I have no idea how much time we'll be able to spend with Jacob, how we'll keep him occupied, or how we'll ward of his hunger pangs without ending up with a seriously cranky/hysterical toddler. Between the early morning, the lack of breakfast or beverage, and being in a strange place where he might eventually be separated from us, it seems like a bad combo. Jacob can be the most awesome little boy, but when a perfect storm like that occurs, he can be impossible to reason with. He seemed to have had a few of those meltdowns this weekend, so I think I have reason to be nervous on that front.

As far as the surgery itself, I know that it will most likely go smoothly and be a non-event. Best case scenario it will go perfectly and we'll have the whole rest of the day to spend with our happy little boy, doing something fun to reward him for his bravery. But all those fears lurk in the background. You hear all the horror stories about anesthesia, howyou never know how someone will respond to it, or how kids are monsters when they come out of it. I wonder how he'll do with a wound on his leg--will he keep his hands off it? Can we keep it clean? What's the risk of infection? And finally--what if it's cancerous? Even if this removal gets rid of all of it, does that mean we'll be on a constant watch for more or have to worry that he's cancer-prone?

An even though every bit of logic dictates that he'll be perfectly fine, as a parent I think it's normal to ponder the worst...to wonder what could happen and how we'd get through it. While Jacob has never been diagnosed with asthma, we've had reasons over the years to believe he might have it at some point. Between his bouts with bronchiolitis, his long-term coughs, Craig's medical history, and our suspicion of allergies (environmental), it wouldn't shock us if he had it. But he's never officially been tested, so it wasn't like we had any concrete reason to put that on any pre-op forms. But what if his current remnants of a cold or some undetected asthma cause an adverse reaction to the anesthesia? It's scary.

This weekend was a bit of a tough one, behavior-wise. I think Jacob's sleep was thrown off by our late departure as we headed off to N.T. on Friday night, and he woke up much earlier than usual on Saturday. He napped fine, but he just seemed off all day. Today wasn't much better, even though he had a pretty good night's sleep. I spent much of the weekend disciplining him, and most of the rest of the weekend watching him play--rather than playing with him (another post for another day)--and the thought kept running through my head..."What if something happens? You're going to regret not spending time with him or enjoying the time you did spend..." and so on. Tonight Craig read to Jacob before bed, and when I came up to tuck him in, they were rocking together on the chair in Jacob's room. I took over and spent a lot of time hugging and rocking Jacob myself. I didn't want to let him go. And since he was hugging me back, it was even harder. I said it on Facebook tonight and I'll say it again here--nothing having to do with your baby is ever "routine". No matter how simple and easy the procedure, you just never know, and any chance that something could happen is just too big to be comfortable. Any risk is risking too much.

I know that Jacob will experience some pain in this process, most likely post-surgery. I'm worried there will be some mental anguish, too, particularly if he is separated from us and knows it. Hopefully he's not scared when he wakes up, and I pray he doesn't associate us with the pain, wondering why we let him go through something like that. You just don't want this to be some sort of turning point--the moment when everything changed, regardless of the reason. Lots of prayers going up tonight, that's for sure. Wish us luck and send up a prayer or two...thanks :)

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